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Opioid Prescription Statistics: Good News and Bad

A pile of prescription pills.
Prescriptions for painkillers are finally on the decline, but that doesn’t help the millions of Americans who are already addicted.

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The opioid epidemic kills more than 115 people a day.

Here’s how it happened: People get hooked on prescription opioid painkillers (like Vicodin and Oxycontin) and then either can’t get enough of them or can’t afford them any longer. So they switched to heroin, which is increasingly laced with the deadly drug fentanyl.

So what’s the good news in all that?

There are actually two statistics to celebrate. The first is that the number of new monthly prescriptions for medications to treat opioid addiction nearly doubled in the last two years, according to a new report by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, which studies drug use.

The other good news is that the root cause of the problem is, finally, being addressed. The number of new prescriptions written for opioid pain medicine declined by 7.8 percent over the course of 2017.

That didn’t happen by accident. Two years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for doctors prescribing opioid painkillers. They called for doctors to first try over-the-counter painkillers and, if necessary, then give only a few days’ supply of opioid painkillers. Many states have also been tracking prescriptions more closely in an effort to prevent users from seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor at the same time.

Prescription Opioid Abuse: The Bad News

Although the report from the IQVIA Institute was definitely promising, there is still a long way to go. While more people are seeking treatment, the report also states that only about 20 percent of the estimated 2.6 million people who are addicted to opioids are getting any kind of help.

Help, Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House

Painkiller and heroin addiction can be successfully treated. At The Raleigh House, located in Denver, we embrace a whole-person approach to healing that addresses physical, mental and emotional health. Each person who walks through our doors is assigned his or her own master’s level therapist. One-on-one and group therapy sessions help heal emotionally, while chef-prepared meals and activities like yoga and kick boxing help heal the body. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the heroin addiction treatment program and the painkiller addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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