The fact that there are 5,500 new users of prescription painkillers every day for non-medical purposes is a scary statistic, but the data gets even worse.
- 1/3 of people who begin using illegal drugs began with a prescription painkiller.
- Approximately 100 Americans die every day from opioids (including heroin)
- The majority of users get them from friends and family (with or without asking)
- 1.2M emergency department visits are due to prescription drug abuse (including dietary supplements)
I could go on and on. The reality is that we have a huge problem here in the US where we have 4.6% of the world’s population but we use 80% of the world’s opioids. This isn’t a new problem. We’ve been watching this get worse for the past decade. I feel like it’s finally getting some attention among all our other issues. The White House is focused on it. The CDC has put out several pieces on it.
One solution has been the creation of the PMP (prescription monitoring program) which all states except Missouri have. A good source for information on the PMPs or the PDMPs (prescription drug monitoring programs) is the Brandeis COE (center of excellence). But, there are challenges here. It requires physicians and pharmacists to register and access it, but it’s not part of their workflow. It’s typically not required.
I could list out dozens of great reports and sources, but here’s a few: