Massive Drug-Dealing Problem in MassachusettsPrescriptions Drugs by the Numbers in the United States

Prescription painkillers are more prevalent than tobacco use in America, pointing to an opioid epidemic. In fact, roughly 38 percent of adults in the United States use painkillers (whether legally or illegally), with an estimated 2.2 million suffering opioid addiction.

Those figures are no surprise considering there has been a 400 percent increase in opioid prescriptions over the last 10 years, enough to fill one prescription for every adult in the country. In fact, the U.S. accounts for nearly all the world’s opium consumption, by way of opioid prescriptions and heroin, that is.

The consequences? Dire, to say the least. An unprecedented 28,000 Americans died in 2014 from opioid overdose, more than double the death rate from 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The opioid epidemic has led to an explosion in heroin abuse, with 80 percent of new heroin users who started with prescription painkillers. Unfortunately, the negative side effects and deadly potential consequences fail to deter many a user.


What Are the Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs?

Opioids top the list. Once a term used only to refer to synthetic forms of opium, opioids is now the generally accepted term for all the drugs in that family, whether they are synthetic, natural or a hybrid of the two (semi-synthetic). These include commonly prescribed drugs such as:

  • Vicodin
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Norco

Benzodiazepines such as Xanax take the second spot, as they were involved in nearly 8,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2014. Side effects of benzodiazepines can include troublesome symptoms such as:

  • Vertigo
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures

Continue reading to learn more about these and other prominent prescription drugs.





Let’s Beat the Addiction

Addiction may be an epidemic, but it doesn’t have to claim any more lives. We can work together to end its death clutch on our families, communities and nation. Those who are severely gripped by the psychological and physical dependence of prescription drugs do not have to settle for a life of addiction. There is hope and a way out of the fog.