Opioid Epidemic Not Driven by Prescription Painkillers

 Opioid Addiction, Prescription Drug Abuse  Comments Off on Opioid Epidemic Not Driven by Prescription Painkillers
Mar 312017

Prescription painkillers are no longer causing opioid epidemic, according to a top official for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This was revealed at a congressional hearing that heroin and illicit fentanyl were instead the culprits for the rising rate of drug overdoses.

Proven Wrong Based on Research

The fact that prescription opioids were allegedly causing the rising deaths related to overdose for years, proved to be wrong as it was found out that the occurrence was due to synthetic opioid and heroin overdose. Moreover, this was also determined to have been caused by fentanyl manufactured illegally.

Over 33,000 deaths were blamed to opioids in which less than half were related to pain medication. CDC Director Debra Houry also said that based from statistics, more than half of those who overdosed on fentanyl or heroin have received at least a single opioid prescription within 7 years before they have died.

Reports regarding efforts to reduce prescription of opioid that have led to the increased use of prohibited drugs were also disputed by Houry. In fact, it was the office of Houry that supervised the development of CDC guidelines. This was reportedly been controversial, as doctors were discouraged to prescribe opioids for chronic pain.

More on Opioids

Based on research, one of the three main categories of medications that would offer certain liabilities for abuse are prescription opioids. The other two are the central nervous system stimulants and depressants. Likewise, there are some factors, which contribute to the severity of the current abuse problem in prescription drugs. Such would include greater social responsibility to use medications, increases in the prescription count whether dispensed or written, and aggressive marketing of some pharmaceutical companies.

When it comes to mortality and abuse, opioids constitute among the highest proportion of the problems related to prescription drug abuse. In fact, as early as 2002, certain cases about opioid analgesic poisoning related to mortality are more common than cocaine or heroin.

Proper Knowledge About Prescription Drugs

According to experts, there is a great lack of medication-assisted treatments in many of the settings of addiction treatment. This is where negative attitudes and stigma persist among administrators and clinic staff. Thus, it would lead to the failure of treatment and the perception that such drugs are ineffective, which would reinforce negative attitudes towards using them.

It might be very difficult to explain that prescription drugs are effective and safe, but at the same time addictive and harmful when abused. That is why there should be focused research in order to discover some targeted communication strategies to address the problem effectively. The notion to educate is a crucial component of any effort of curbing prescription medication abuse, which should be targeted in every segment of the society that should involve doctors.


Despite the fact that opioid medications are still gateway drugs for many, it was otherwise revealed in a report that not all of them are using prescription painkillers before they succumb to death. Therefore, it was strongly denied by Houry that such a report on reductions of prescribing opioid would increase the use of heroin or other illegal drugs.






 Posted by at 2:32 pm