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According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, more than 12 million people abuse opioid drugs. In 2010, 16,652 deaths were related to opioid overdose in combination with other drugs such as benzodiazepines and alcohol.

At the end of 2021 the numbers of deaths from pharmaceutical drugs has climbed to over 100,000 per year. According to Albert Einstein, continuing, or doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

Perhaps it's time we tried a different method to handle addictions to prescribed medications. If cannabis is a gateway drug, then the gate can swing both ways.

In September 2013, the FDA released new labeling guidelines for long acting and extended release opioid requiring manufacturers to remove moderate pain as indication for use, instead stating the drug is for "pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long term opioid treatment."The updated labeling will not restrict physicians from prescribing opioids for moderate, as needed use.

Prescription Drugs: Killing More Than Pain

credit: Multi-jurisdictional Counter-drug Task Force Training (MCTFT) / (CADCA);

Program Description: When America entered the new millennium, it entered a new era in the world of drug abuse. From the streets of the cities to the secluded family homes in the suburbs, prescription drug abuse is a problem that's spilling out of pill bottles and into the lives of millions all across our country. Back in 2000, about 1.5 million Americans abused prescription drugs.
Two years later, that number quadrupled -- to more than six million. That's a 400% increase.
Thousands of people die each year because they overdose on prescription medications. Many abusers think they're an FDA-approved high, while others become addicted after using powerful painkillers to treat legitimate pain. During this broadcast, learn how abusers are getting their drugs and how law enforcement, doctors, and pharmacists are fighting the problem. Hear from recovering addicts, treatment providers, doctors, robbery victims and more. Prescription drugs kill much more than pain. Program Objectives: Learn what prescription drugs are abused. Learn how doctors can better treat pain. See what would help pharmacists spot forged and altered prescriptions.

  • See what tactics work for law enforcement
  • Find out what drug companies are doing

Know where to go for help. Prescription drugs, a category of psychotherapeutics that comprises prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives, are among the substances most commonly abused by young people in the United States.
Prescription drugs are readily available and can easily be obtained by teenagers who abuse these drugs to experience a variety of desired effects. Often these young people are unaware of the serious health risks involved in abusing prescription drugs. Increasingly younger adolescents obtain prescription drugs from classmates, friends, and family members, or they steal the drugs from school medicine dispensaries and from people for whom the drug had been legitimately prescribed.
Keywords: narcotics. Prescription drugs, which are widely available and easy to obtain, provide young people with an easily accessible, inexpensive means of altering their mental and physical state. Abusers may experience a heightened sense of pleasure, euphoria, drowsiness, increased energy, or various other effects depending upon the drugs they abuse.
Young people who abuse prescription drugs put themselves at risk of experiencing dangerous side effects. Prescription drugs--when taken as prescribed by a physician--successfully treat a variety of mental or physical conditions. However, when abused, these drugs can alter the brain's activity and lead to debilitating or life-threatening health problems and result in physical or psychological dependence.