Jasmine Schaber Mrs. Savio Research 8 10/17/18 Drug Use in the U.S. Drug use is an American epidemic – but is it your doctor’s fault? Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids are five times higher in 2016 than they were in 1999 (Seth 1). There is a labor shortage in the American Midwest because of substance abuse, especially opioids (Schwartz 1). Prescription opioids are some of the most addictive substances there are, but many still need them. However, they can only be prescribed by one person – your doctor. Prescription opioid abuse can be blamed on both the patient and the doctor that prescribes these addictive medications.
Doctors overprescribe addictive opioids without regard for their patients. They contribute to the rising population of drug users more than we think. Since the 1950’s, drug use has soared in the US. Over 70,000 people in the US died from overdoses in 2017. Doctors over prescribe addictive and harmful drugs. (Schwartz 1) About 92 million people in the US were legally prescribed Oxycontin or Percocet in the US. That is 38% of the population. (Thompson 1) The rate of prescription has gone up 4 times since 1999, and and the percent of US people taking 5+ drugs has gone up from 8% in 2000, to 15% in 2012. (Boodman 1) Doctors legally stuff their patients full of medications, uncaring of the consequences. There is no dispute – it isn’t healthy to have five drugs in your body at one time. Doctors are part of the problem that plagues our country.
They are oft regarded as the good guys of the story, but more often than not, they contribute to the drug epidemic, and don’t really help those in pain. Prescription abuse affects everybody in the US and it is too easy for doctors to get away with their crimes when they overprescribing. “A recent study found that doctors continue to prescribe opioids for 91 percent of patients who suffered a non-fatal overdose, with 63 percent of those patients continuing to receive high doses; 17 percent of these patients overdosed again within two years,” the report found (Philip and Maloney).
A study found that one in five babies in Indiana is born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a cluster of ailments caused by opioid addiction. (In.gov) “West Virginia providers wrote 110 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (‘West Virginia Opioid Summary’). In 2015, New Jersey providers wrote 55.0 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (4.9 million prescriptions). (‘New Jersey Opioid Summary’) These statistics show prescription opioid addiction affects every state in the us. We need to think of overprescription as a nationwide epidemic, and consider it as serious as fentanyl or heroin. Drug abuse is a very important issue that can be blamed on both doctors and patients. It is a serious issue and should be treated as such.If we do not address this issue, it will only get worse. It was 2015 when the first doctor was prosecuted for murder because of how harmful their overprescribing was. (Thompson 2) The US is facing a crisis unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. The people who are supposed to be helping addicts, the doctors, are actually getting more and more people hooked. Prescription opioids will be the death of us all if we don’t concentrate on stopping doctors from overprescribing.
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