Roughly 25% of Narcotic Painkillers Involved in Prescription Drug Abuse

narcotic painkillers, prescription drug abuse

A new study shows that around 25% of narcotic painkillers that are given to manage chronic pain end up being involved in prescription drug abuse. In addition the study also shows that 1 in 10 patients on these drugs will end up addicted as a result of legitimate use and physician oversight because these medications are highly addictive to begin with. The results raise some questions about whether narcotic painkillers should be so widely available, and how the medical community can provide compassionate care for patients with chronic pain and still lower the rate of prescription drug abuse. According to University of New Mexico researcher Kevin Vowles “On average, misuse was documented in approximately one out of four or five patients, and addiction [was found] in approximately one out of 10 or 11 patients prescribed the drugs as part of their treatment for chronic pain.”

According to the authors of the study on narcotic painkillers and prescription drug abuse “If it is accurate that approximately one in four patients on opioids display patterns of opioid misuse, but not addiction, then perhaps more efficient targeting of treatment resources would be of benefit.We are not certain that the benefits derived from opioids, which are rather unclear . . . compensate for this additional burden to patients and health-care systems.” FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research deputy director of regulatory programs Dr. Douglas Throckmorton discussed FDA guidance on opioids and said “This guidance is one of the many activities being done by the FDA to address opioid-related overdose and death.”

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