As we enter another year, it appears that the dreaded Opioid Crisis is gaining momentum as opposed to losing it. For example, from 2002 to 2014, about 500,000 people died as a direct result of opioid-related overdoses (with 165,000 of these deaths stemming from prescription narcotics). Later, in 2016, officials reported that an estimated 78 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses each day with (once again) 50% of these deaths stemming from legal medications. From the wealthy businessman to the middle-class construction worker, every person in our country seems to be susceptible to this dangerous epidemic. In an interesting yet disturbing twist, though, some particularly nasty problems seem to be stemming from (of all things) Medicare programs. Let’s take a closer look at the situation and find out some more information.
Definitions of Addictive Drugs
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported, since the 1990s, opioid-related deaths have steadily increased, and (in a cruel twist of irony) the use of prescription opioids has been 4 times more frequent within the period. Ultimately, this issue has led medical professionals to ask one question: should we place the blame on America’s healthcare system? After all, prescription opioids are labeled as Schedule I (highly addictive and no medical use), Schedule II, and Schedule III drugs (meaning they have a high potential for addiction). So, why do doctors bother to prescribe these dangerous drugs?
The Big Problem with Medicare
Back in 2016, JAMA Internal Medicine confirmed that doctors were prescribing a large quantity of opioid medications to Medicare beneficiaries after visits to hospitals. As part of the study (focusing on 623,000 patients), researchers confirmed these men and women were not originally taking prescription opioids, but, within one week of staying in a hospital, roughly 15% of the patients received one of these medications. Even more disturbing, roughly 42.5% of these patients also continued to consume these opioids past the safe date (after a 90-day period).
Ultimately, we have to ask to questions. Are patients enrolled in Medicare suffering from more pain than other patients and require these medications? Is something else taking place in the Medicare system? All we can do right now is watch and wait.
Seeking Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
While necessary for chronic pain patients, opioids are deadly and potentially addictive drugs that can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Given the tricky situation involving these drugs in current years, it is best to exercise extreme caution when you are faced with a prescription for these drugs (particularly if you have a history of abuse or addiction).
If you, a friend, or a loved one has become the victim of opioid use disorder, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our professional team of counselors and healthcare experts will help you endure the painful process detox and withdrawal and guide you through each step of the rehabilitation process to help you separate yourself from the clutches of opioid medications.
If you want to find out more about our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs or enroll in one of these programs today, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your leisure and your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how you can overcome your attachment to opioids and take an essential step against the Opioid Crisis.