“More than one in four Americans has taken prescription painkillers in the past year, even as a majority say that abuse of these medications is a very serious public health concern, according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research.
Roughly seven in 10 Americans have been prescribed the medications in their lifetime and 17 percent say they have taken painkillers prescribed for someone else, the researchers found in what they believe is the first national public opinion study on this topic.
The findings, published online Oct. 7 in the journal Addiction, suggest that the public may be poised to support a number of policy measures designed to control what has become an epidemic of abuse, including instituting better medical training in controlling pain and treating addiction, requiring doctors to ensure patients don’t receive multiple painkiller prescriptions from different providers and requiring pharmacists to check identification before distributing pain prescriptions.
“This study shows that many Americans have had direct experience using prescription pain relievers and a sizable share have misused or abused these medications themselves or have close friends or family members who have done so,” says study leader Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School. “The seriousness of the issue has become salient with the American public.”
Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents ranked prescription pain medication abuse as either a very serious or extremely serious health issue, on par with other public health problems such as gun violence and tobacco use, Barry says.”
Source: MedicalXpress.com – October 7, 2015