Treating Drug Addiction

A fair amount of concern and worry has come to the forefront lately regarding doctors and prescription drugs.  The prescription drug epidemic has been raging through the nation and showing no sign of getting any better any time soon.  Substance abuse and addiction have been a steadily increasing problem since the turn of the century, and little has been done to properly address it either.  So, we need to ask ourselves, as a nation, if our medical professionals are prepared to effectively participate in treating drug addiction.

Changing this issue for the better must start with the doctors who prescribe the drugs. For the last sixteen years, doctors have been prescribing these medications in record numbers; the effects of this have been devastating and concerning to say the least.  Now more than ever, it will be up to the American medical field to really clamp down on the prescription drug distribution into the American populace.  The pharmaceutical companies certainly aren’t going to cut back on their production as they stand to make so much money off of the epidemic.

As Americans, we put our faith in medical doctors more so than almost anyone else, and it is a shame when a doctor prescribes a medication that kills a patient.  Doctors must be educated on the truth about these drugs so that they can proceed accordingly and perhaps advise more holistic methods rather than drug-related methods.

Statistics on the Issue of Treating Drug Addiction

The following statistics showcase areas of substance abuse in the nation that is climbing, just as the need for treating drug addiction is on the rise.

These statistics are all handpicked because they all showcase some aspect of the current American drug problem that doctors, (and parents), could be doing something about, but that for the most part nothing is being done about it:

  • The use of amphetamine drugs, (including misused prescription medication such as Adderall and Ritalin), increased among high school seniors to a level of 8.2 percent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). While that statistic alone could have been influenced by several factors, the over-medication by doctors of certain students who can then sell excess meds to other students is under suspicion. Among high school students too, OxyContin use for non-medical purposes skyrocketed.
  • The decade ending in 2010 saw a significant drop in parents who were proactive in communicating an anti-drug message to their children. In fact, slightly more than 30 percent of surveyed parents admitted to avoiding the subject altogether in fact. Adding more concern to these issues were the parents who did not monitor the use of over-the-counter drugs found in their medicine cabinet. Although one in ten teens confessed to using cough syrup to get high, only half the parents were paying attention to the amount consumed by their kids.  Obviously parents need to keep a closer eye on their kids.
  • The rapid rise in the prescription drug epidemic combined with a decrease in perceived harm of certain classes of drugs has brought about deaths from drug overdose that have been rising steadily and are now the leading cause of injury death in the U.S. Sadly, people don’t seem to see prescription drugs for the dangers that they really are.
  • According to the organization of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day in the United States, 114 people die as a result of drug overdose, and another 6,748 are treated in emergency departments, (also known as EDs), for the misuse or abuse of drugs. Nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs too.  Almost all of this comes from prescription drugs too, not illegal street drugs!
  • Americans are dying due to drug abuse more frequently than they ever have before, in part because only a mere 1 in 10 people with a substance abuse problem receives the help they need.  If more addicts received help, then more lives would be saved.
  • A report done in the year 2012 by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse revealed that medical schools devoted little time to teaching addiction-related science to doctors.  It actually totaled out to only a few hours over four years. Since then, the number of Americans overdosing from prescribed opioids has surpassed 14,000 per year, quadrupling from 1999 to 2014 in fact, and making itself out to be the worst substance abuse problem in the history of the nation.

Effecting Positive Change

It is very apparent that in this day and age when drug and alcohol addiction is several times more damaging and prevalent and common than it ever was before, it really becomes clear that now more than ever it is necessary for the medical field to become more capable at treating drug addiction.  Medical doctors must be trained in drug and alcohol addiction and they especially must be very closely monitored when it comes to how they prescribe drugs to people.

The times have changed quite a bit in the nation, and it would seem that we have entered into an age where addiction, especially addiction to substances that are legal, is now more common than it ever was before. Because of this, now more than ever, we must proceed with immense caution in the medical field so as to preserve lives through treating drug addiction.

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