Over Usage of Opiates Today

By. Elizabeth Tarsia

     Due to lack of knowledge, our healthcare system has been over prescribing highly addictive painkillers. The addictive quality of the drug and susceptibility of the user, opiate usage and overdose percentage is through the roof . Our healthcare system should be cleaning up the mess the lack of knowledge has caused.

My family has a long history of opiate usage, and it has all been caused by being prescribed opiates after surgeries or just for complaint of pain and getting hooked. After a family member’s surgery they had been given Oxycodone. As well as another person just complaining about knee pain and being prescribed Vicodin. Then again when a different person got their wisdom teeth pulled and got Vicodin.

If there were more laws and rules or even alternatives that doctors would prescribe I wouldn’t have two cousins in prison for heroin usage. Possibly instead of prescribing all these pills, Doctors could look at alternative medicine like herbs. I would still be able to have a normal conversation with my aunt without her craving heroin. My aunts kids wouldn’t be separated into three different family members homes, the youngest wouldn’t have been born with Hepatitis C. This is all happening in just one family, try imagining the effect it has had on many others.

One of my uncles has had a history with bad knees due to a prior job working on the inside of wind turbines, he is now addicted to opioids. His addiction has lead him to stealing Vicodin out of our cabinets, as well as stealing alcohol. Thanks to my uncles addiction my whole family has lost a great relationship with him. All he tries to do is manipulate family members into giving him money to fuel his addiction, and tries making us feel sorry for his knee pain. “More than 80 percent of all of the opioid prescriptions in the world are written by doctors in the United States, and not all of those drugs are taken to treat pain.” Stated Washington University School of Medicine in the article “overprescribing opiods”

This issue is not our responsibility to deal with. This problem has been caused by carelessness within the medical industry and over prescribing pain pills. Someone whose pain could have been solved by a higher dosage of Tylenol is being given Vicodin, is no fault of the family. The family should not be put responsible for the problem caused by an issue they couldn’t control.

Opiate addiction doesn’t just affect the one family that that person is a part of, it puts a burden on anyone who cares about that person: whether they have to take their kids in or are constantly worried about that person overdosing and passing away. If someone was to tell my family that we had to take responsibility for my aunt hooked on heroin and trying to get her clean, I would be furious. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many times anyone in my family has tried encouraging her to go to a rehab center.

“It’s estimated that about 5 million americans use prescription opioids for non-medical reasons, and the cost to the U.S. Economy is estimated to be about $70 billion dollars per year. Approximately 65% of heroin users say they used prescription opioids first then moved to a better high. 4-20% of opioid pills prescribed are not being used for medical purposes. Accidental overdose in this country due to opioids occurs every 18 minutes. More than 28,000 people last year died from an accidental opioid overdose.” Stated Washington University School of Medicine in the article “overprescribing opiods”

If people in the medical field 50 years ago, were to be instructed that giving someone an opiate they knew hardly anything about, could potentially result in the issues we have now. I can almost guarantee anyone that the over usage of opiates, and overdoses we have now would  significantly be lower in today’s issues.

 

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20170731/doctors-still-overprescribing-opioids-in-us#1

https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/podcast/overprescribing-opioids/

https://hbr.org/2017/10/how-health-care-providers-can-help-end-the-overprescription-of-opioids

Personal experience.

 

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