Data Shows that More Americans are Dying from Drug Overdose than Gunshot Wounds
Beverly Hills, CA (PRWEB) July 14, 2009 — In response to a national “wake up call” regarding prescription painkiller abuse from Gil Kerlikowske, director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) during a recent interview with CBS News, Waismann Method, the pioneering treatment method for opiate addiction, is urging Americans everywhere to recognize that the country is facing an increasing prescription drug addiction epidemic. Recent data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) demonstrates evidence of this growing problem with more than 50 million Americans aged 12 or older admitting to non-medical use of prescription drugs. Possibly even more shocking is the statistic that more Americans are dying from prescription drug overdose than from gunshot wounds. According to Dr. Michael Lowenstein, co-director of the Waismann Method and Diplomat of the American Board of Anesthesiology and the American Board of Pain Medicine, it’s important to understand the hidden perils associated with the opiate drugs.
“Each year we see an increasing number of patients from all different walks of life who are struggling with opiate dependency,” explains Lowenstein. “It is unfortunate that it has taken recent tragic incidents in the entertainment industry to draw national attention to this serious issue, but it is important that people, especially parents, better educate themselves on the potential dangers of seemingly ‘safe’ drugs.”
Additional data from NSDUH shows that teens are among the fastest growing population experimenting with prescription drugs, with approximately 2,500 initiates per day. Combined together, these alarming statistics necessitate the importance of increased awareness and education as well as creating an open dialogue with teenagers regarding prescription drug abuse.
Lowenstein suggests promoting awareness and safety within your family by practicing three simple guidelines:
- Don’t assume you’re in the clear, particularly if your child is the head cheerleader or captain of the football team. Not all kids who abuse prescription drugs are dark, depressed, and troubled. Use has become increasingly frequent among a variety of groups of young people, so watch out for any changes in behavior or physical appearance, indifference towards others and feelings, radical changes in mood, constant need for more money, secrecy and others.
- Monitor the medicine cabinet. The number one place that children and teens (or any co-habitant) are obtaining prescription drugs is from within their very own home. Always dispose of leftover pills, keep a detailed inventory, or consider locking up excessive supplies.
- Remember, it’s all relative. Legal or not, prescription drugs can be just as harmful as street drugs. Prescription painkillers like Oxycontin and or Vicodin are synthetic (manmade) opiates, which is the family of drugs that Heroin is derived from.
“This category of drug abuse has long been overlooked due to the perception that the legality of these drugs somehow makes them less harmful,” adds Lowenstein. “It has now become glaringly evident that the misuse of these drugs has spread nationwide and has grave consequences. The key to resolving the American epidemic lies in ongoing education and awareness.”