A lot of people nowadays have become addicted to a wide range of substances. Some are attached to tobacco and nicotine and smoke several sticks or packs a day, while others are hooked on alcohol and can’t stop drinking. Still others are dependent on marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine as well as various club drugs like ecstasy.
In Tennessee, though, the drug of choice among the residents seems to be prescription painkillers. This type of substance abuse isn’t exactly new since many people over the years have become addicted to pain medicine, but what is alarming is the fact that a large portion of Tennesseans are dependent on it.
This information has been gathered by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of Tennessee. They tracked the use of prescription painkiller among Tennesseans in 10 years (from 1992 to 2012) and found out that it has increased over time. This is true among all age groups but is even more pronounced in people who are in their 20s and 30s.
The department noted that 59 percent of respondents aged 21 to 24 years old pointed to prescription pain medicine as their most-abused drug. Almost 50 percent of those in their early 30s and 21 percent of those in their early 50s also reported the same thing.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there since prescription painkiller addiction can result to disastrous circumstances. According to a recently released report by the state’s Department of Health, 580 people from Northeast Tennessee have died from drug overdose within just five years, from 2009 to 2014. The report also shows that the overdose death rate in this area is well-above the state average and is not showing any signs of slowing.
Prescription Drugs Facts
The question now is this: why do people become addicted to prescription pain medicine? There are actually many reasons, but they usually stem from the fact that these painkillers (like many other types of addictive substance) produce a kind of short-term euphoria. Those who use these drugs begin to crave this pleasant feeling, which causes them to take painkillers in ever-increasing dosage until they become fully addicted.
Many people who are dependent on prescription pain medicine are introduced to it in a seemingly unremarkable way. They may have experienced migraines, incurred an injury, or gone through an operation in the past, which prompted their physician to give them painkillers to keep them away from discomfort. Unfortunately, they become hooked to the euphoria that these drugs give, and they continue taking them even when they no longer need to.
This issue has reached the ears of government officials in Tennessee, and they are looking into creating a legislation that will reduce the supply and effectively manage the distribution of prescription painkillers. This way, they won’t be easily obtained by those who have no medical need for it. Lawmakers are also looking for ways to help those who are dependent on the substances and provide them with the opportunity to obtain high-quality treatment.