American hoarders helping push up rates of opioid addiction, overdose – Tim Mullaney, special to CNBC – Sept 2017
Your medicine cabinet could be contributing to the opioid epidemic.
What happened the last time you were prescribed an opioid? If you’re like most people, you didn’t finish them — and didn’t dispose of them — in effect, making you a potential source of illicit drugs and addiction that has been exploding across America.
What utter nonsense. Recent data shows that opioid prescriptions are already at a 10-year low. (See Overdoses Increasing While Opioid Rx at 10-year Low)
Drug users have moved on to more plentiful, less expensive, and more accessible opioids they can simply buy on the street.
But these days, street drugs like heroin or black market opioid pills frequently contain fentanyl, which is cheaper, easier to buy, and much more powerful, thus also making an overdose much more likely.
This rogue supply of painkiller is alarming, given the latest data on addiction deaths: Even after years of heightened attention from politicians and the press to the nationwide opioid epidemic, 2016 saw an increase in overdose deaths of 21 percent, with rates of synthetic-opioid deaths doubling, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There are around 200 million opioid scripts a year. … It’s an extraordinary reserve,” said Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University who worked on drug policy for the Obama administration. “That’s just as many scripts as there are adults; it’s such a huge reservoir to tap. … Lots of people just don’t think about it,” Humphreys said.
As many as 92 percent of patients don’t finish their painkillers,
That means “as many as 92%” did NOT become addicted.
An addicted person cannot hoard their drug of choice. Addiction is a compulsion to use, so they use the drug continually until it’s all gone. If patients have opioid pills sitting around and don’t take them, it proves they aren’t addicted.
Yet we repeatedly hear about people being prescribed opioids and many of them becoming addicted. But here we have 90% of patients with their unused opioids, with no compulsion to take them.
Many patients stop taking pills because their pain has receded, according to between 42 percent and 71 percent of those studied. A smaller group of patients stopped taking the pills because of side effects.
Again, this is a sign they are using the medication only for pain, NOT to feed an addiction.
Opioids account for 2 million people with a substance-abuse problem, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Most people with opioid problems began by using pills they were prescribed as pain relievers, but more recent twists in the epidemic include a resurgence of heroin addiction and abuse of fentanyl, the drug that singer Prince overdosed on last year.
I’ll bet all people with opioid problems “began” by using alcohol, or maybe coffee, or aspirin too.
Original article: American hoarders helping push up rates of opioid addiction, overdose