While it’s not shocking news considering we have been tracking this for years, but a recent survey confirmed that the number of people in America abusing prescription drugs increased by more than 400% between 1998 and 2008. Although data isn’t available yet for last year, I am sure it will show yet another increase.
The report from the Treatment Episode Data Set also revealed that the number of opiate users admitted for addiction treatment centers who were on prescription painkillers had increased from 6.8% to 26.5% during that time. Many long-term drug treatment programs we work with echo these results.
There is no question that prescription drug addiction and abuse is a national epidemic – way more than any type of flu has been, yet swine and bird strands caused millions of people to get shots unnecessarily and drug companies raked hundreds of millions of dollars in sales from those “outbreaks”. Maybe that is the real connection – it’s not the number of lives lost that counts to them, but how much money winds up in their bank accounts each year. Both situations are directly related to drug companies and their bottom lines – though each has very different story lines.