“At the July 25th summer meeting of the National Governors Association there was an unexpected bipartisan call to arms against drug abuse.
Oklahoma’s Republican governor Mary Fallin described the prescription drug epidemic as “the enemy within,” a threat to national security equal to Islamic terror. Steve Beshear, Kentucky’s Democratic governor, stunned the audience with the statistic that more Americans are dying from drug overdoses than die on the nation’s highways.
As governors from up two-dozen states listened, Dr. Debra Houry from the Centers for Disease Control said drug overdoses caused 145,000 deaths over the past decade. It is an epidemic, she said, spreading at an alarming rate with “drug related deaths up by 400% since 1999.”
Despite appeals to hold back, she said physicians continue to overprescribe powerful painkillers, which in medical terms are opioids, addictive opium-related synthetic compounds whose excessive use impacts the brain like heroin. She said 260 million prescriptions for pain killers were written in 2012, “enough for every adult in the country to have his own bottle of pills.” Common painkillers are Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin.
Dr. Houry cited research showing that the recent upsurge in heroin use is connected to the overuse of painkillers. Pain pill abusers, she said, are 40 times more likely than others to move on to heroin.”
Source: HuffingtonPost.com – July 30, 2015