The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Painkiller Abuse Threatening Public Health

Main side effects of Oxycodone. Red color deno...
Image via Wikipedia

This is finally getting attention.  Our use of and dependence on opiod pain medications is out of control.  Our chemical dependency units are no longer full of alcohol detox patients, but rather people who need to detox from pain medications.  While I agree that pain control is necessary, I am not sure that we are helping anyone by setting them up to become addicted to the pain medications.

Chemical dependency is a part of our mental health system and this situation needs to be addressed.


Emergency room visits due to the abuse of prescription painkillers have more than doubled since 2004, according to a recent research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The situation is alarming and warrants an urgent action, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director, CDC.

Nonmedical use of these prescription medicines have now become as common as illicit drugs, he noted in a report published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 18 Issue. Proper and safe use of prescription painkillers need to be ensured, he stressed. The phenomenon is putting a pressure on health care system, said Pamela Hyde, SAMHSA Administrator.

The research, which covered the period between 2004 and 2008, brought out Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Methadone as the most abused prescription painkillers. Emergency room visits due to Oxycodone abuse jumped to 105,214, an increase of 152 percent. Similarly, Hydrocodone abuse resulted in emergency room visits for 89,000 patients, up by 123 percent, and Methadone abuse for 63,629 patients, up by 73 percent.

In comparison, there were about a million emergency room visits […read more…]

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June 24, 2010 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , , , ,


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