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Painkiller Misuse Remains a Pressing Problem Across U.S.
Report identifies states with highest rates of abuse

By Robert Preidt

THURSDAY, July 13, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Abuse of prescription opioid painkillers is second only to marijuana abuse as the most common illegal drug problem in the United States, a new government report shows.

Analysis of 2012-2014 national data found that more than 4 percent of Americans aged 12 and older reported nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers in the past year, says the report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Misusing powerful narcotic painkillers such as OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicoprofen (hydrocodone) and morphine can lead to substance use disorder, overdose or death.

Nonmedical painkiller use was most common in Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas and Nevada, all with rates exceeding 5 percent.

The lowest rates -- less than 3.5 percent -- were in Massachusetts, Vermont, Florida, Montana and Minnesota, the report noted.

"Prescription pain relievers when used properly for their intended purpose can be of enormous benefit to patients, but their nonmedical use can lead to addiction, serious physical harm, and even death," said Kana Enomoto, SAMHSA acting deputy assistant secretary.

"We must educate the public on the serious health risks involved, train prescribers to recognize signs of misuse, and provide evidence-based treatment to those who need it," Enomoto added in an agency news release.

There was some good news in the report: Nonmedical use of prescription painkillers fell between 2010-2012 and 2012-2014 nationally and in 13 states.

However, experts say there's no quick fix for the opioid epidemic. According to a new report from the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, it will take years of coordinated effort on the part of local, state and federal agencies to halt and reverse the drug crisis.

More than 2 million people in the United States are addicted to prescription painkillers, and almost 600,000 are hooked on heroin, an illicit opioid, the academies' report noted.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on opioid medications.

SOURCE: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, news release, July 13, 2017

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=724569

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Substance-Related Disorders
Pain
Mental Health
Lead
Mental Health Services
Death
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
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