The worrying and rising trend of USA drug use 2017 shows no signs of slackening. While it is true that some sections of the population are cutting back on one substance or the other there is evidence that far more are either maintaining or increasing their use of substances.
One major area that deserves close attention is that which may surprise many due to its legality:
The amount of people in the USA addicted to prescription medication has reached crisis point in the country. Estimates given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that the total economic burden of this type of misuse alone is running at $78.5 billion each year. This includes costs for:
- Lost productivity
- Addiction treatment
- Criminal justice involvement
Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs:
These can be broken down into:
- Opioids – For pain
- (CNS) Central nervous system Depressants – For anxiety and sleep disorders
- Stimulants – For ADHD and narcolepsy
The opioids that cause most addiction problems are seen as: Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Oxymorphone, the CNS category includes Pentobarbital sodium, Diazepam and Alprazolam while the Stimulants most abused are Dextroamphetamine, Methylphenidate and Amphetamines. All of the above medications have common registered trade names and while there has been a crack-down on the number of prescriptions issued legally, it is also known that such medication is widely available through ‘street dealers’.
Inherent dangers of abusing prescription medication:
We are all aware that prescription medication should be used “as prescribed and as stated”. With some prescribed medication, there is leeway to overdo things, but this is certainly not the case with the prescribed drug which is causing huge problems and contributing to death by overdose according to the USA Drug Use 2017 statistics. This frightening drug is:
Anyone using or considering the use of fentanyl must understand that this opiate is one of the most powerful painkilling drugs currently available. It certainly has its uses for those recovering from surgery or those in need of temporarily easing “breakthrough pain” when using other painkillers.
Fentanyl is a short-duration medication that must be administered with great care. It’s strength alone offers a fine line between a dose which eases pain and one that can be fatal. Sadly, many illegal users have learned to their cost through such a misjudgment.
When fentanyl is prescribed it must be done so under supervision and administered over short periods. The reason for this is that the drug creates a rapid increase in tolerance for higher doses.
A stark example is that a dose giving the required feelings taken over a period of 5 or 6 days of continuous use will not register those feelings the following week. The obvious answer for many is to take more, thus rapidly increasing the chances of addiction.
What is being done about the USA Drug Use 2017 crisis?
In response to the opioid crisis the HHS and the NIH are focusing their efforts in 5 major areas. These are:
- Improvement of access to treatment and recovery services
- Promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs
- Strengthening understanding of the crisis through more effective public health surveillance
- Offering and providing support for cutting-edge research related to pain and addiction
- Progressing and advancing better practices for pain management
Let’s hope these initiatives and continued education as to the problems of drug abuse can help turn this crisis around.