“As the nation struggles with an ongoing epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse, misuse, and overdoses, a new Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds that one in three (34%) of those who recently used such drugs for at least two months report being addicted or dependent.
Featured in Sunday’s The Washington Post, the new survey examines the views and experiences of long-term users of strong prescription painkillers, defined as adults who have taken the drugs for at least two months at some point during the past two years, other than to treat pain from cancer or terminal illness. These long-term users represent an estimated 5 percent of adults nationally.
Most long-term users are battling significant health problems, including seven in ten who say they have a debilitating disability or chronic disease. Almost all (98%) long-term painkiller users cite relieving pain as a reason for using the medications, but some also report other reasons:
- One third (34%) say they take the painkillers for fun or to get high;
- One in five (22%) say they take them to deal with day-to-day stress; and
- One in ten (12%) say they take them to relax or relieve tension.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation – December 11, 2016