Yale’s Dr. William Becker and a team of researchers recently examined data collected from 2006 to 2008, and found surprising numbers regarding where addicts obtain their drugs. Only 1 in 5 people who misuse opioid painkillers get the drugs from their doctors. In fact, 69 percent of addicts never obtain any of these drugs from medical sources.
The study, which was recently published by the Archives of Internal Medicine, examined data from the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health (NHSDUH). The survey included interview data on drug habits from thousands of drug addicts 18 years old and older.
Those surveyed reported taking an opioid painkiller that was not for medical reasons or from a prescription. While younger addicts—18 to 25 year olds—are less likely to obtain painkillers from medical professionals through a prescription, the majority of middle-aged to older addicts also rely on friends, family members or dealers to get drugs.
The study produced some additional staggering statistics:
- 77 percent of 18 to 25 year olds get painkillers exclusively from nonmedical sources
- 52 percent of the 50+ age group get painkillers exclusively from nonmedical sources
- Less than 3 percent of painkiller addicts initially become addicted from their medical prescription for legitimate pain
- 80 percent of OxyContin addicts have previously taken cocaine.
The study also reported an alarming rise in the number of opioid addicts. From 2002-2006 sales of Hydrocodone and oxycodone nearly doubled, and from 2008-2009 the number of people using opioids for non-medical reasons rose by 1.2 million (approximately 13 percent). The authors of the study have called for increased efforts to thwart recreational (non-medical) opioid use. Lead author, Dr. Becker, also said “such an effort may help everyone, including those who get their opioids from the doctor.”
The Waismann Method is a pioneering medical opiate detoxification procedure that is safe, humane and effective, and provides an alternative option for treatment of prescription painkiller dependency. Performed in a hospital intensive care unit, the Waismann Method utilizes careful administration of medications to reverse the physiological dependence on opiates while the symptoms of withdrawal are addressed. During the procedure patients experience minimal conscious withdrawal. Following treatment, patients are opiate-free and stay at the Domus Retreat where they are supervised by a team of professionals as part of the recovery and transition process.
If you or anyone you know might be struggling with prescription painkiller addiction we encourage you to consult your medical professional. Feel free to contact us as well with any questions on treatment options or further guidance.