But that’s not the case anymore. The U.S. House passed its version of an anti-opioid bill on May 13, a sign of just how much this issue has pushed its way to the forefront of public discourse.
A Prevalent Discussion
CNN recently weighed in on the issue, airing a “town hall” meeting featuring experts and people whose lives have been affected by opioid abuse. One of the speakers, former NFL quarterback Ray Lucas, said he was a “functioning addict” during his playing career. At one time, he said, his painkiller addiction was so strong he was taking as many as 1,400 pills every month. That averages out at almost 50 pills every day.
In conjunction with the town hall meeting, CNN also ran an extensive article on its website addressing many of the questions faced by patients who are prescribed painkillers. The article presented a disturbing statistic from the Centers for Disease Control. According to the CDC, approximately 2 million people in the U.S. either abused prescription opioids or became addicted to them in 2014 alone. That same year, more than 14,000 people died due to prescription opioid overdoses.
CNN also reported that, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 200 million prescriptions were written for opioid painkillers in 2013. According to the article, they are written for a variety of issues, ranging from pain after surgery and cancer-related pain all the way down to headaches.
The bottom line is that before you agree to take any sort of opioid for pain relief, have a long, frank discussion with your doctor to make sure taking that medication will be in your best interest. Find out if you may be at a risk for becoming addicted and make sure you explore all other alternatives.