The information you need to DO YOUR PART

in helping to prevent prescription drug abuse.

Prescription pain relievers such as OxyContin® or Vicodin® are opiates, a derivative of heroin

Opiate overdoses, once almost always due to heroin use, are now increasingly due to abuse of prescription painkillers.

In an Issue Brief Six Strategies for Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse published by the National Governor's Association (September 2012), it is noted opioid pain relievers are powerful narcotics that have contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of drug-related deaths. A recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) identified that in 2010 there were a total of 4,916,328 drug-related visits to emergency departments throughout the nation. During that same year, there were 973 deaths due to unintentional drug poisonings in Michigan. Of these deaths, 22.7% involved opioid analgesics.

 

An MDCH Fact Sheet produced by the Bureau of Disease Control, Prevention and Epidemiology and OROSC identified that the total number of unintentional poisoning deaths rose from 235 in 1999 to 990 in 2009, then decreased to 973 in 2010. Poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics increased 8.3 fold during this time period, more rapidly than those from any other drug. In 2012, 941 Michigan residents died due to unintentional poisoning.

 

Opiate overdoses, once almost always due to heroin use, are now increasingly due to abuse of prescription painkillers. Across the U.S., the number of overdose deaths from opioid pain relievers surpasses the number of deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. Preventing prescription drug abuse poses a unique challenge because of the need to balance prevention, education and enforcement with the need for legitimate access to these drugs.

 

Many Americans benefit from the appropriate use of prescription painkillers, but when abused, they can be as addictive and dangerous as illegal drugs. Prescription drugs should only be taken exactly as directed by a medical professional.

Funded by PFS II and SAPT block grant through MDHHS and Region 10 PIHP.