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6 Scary Facts About The Opioid Epidemic

Posted by Vicki on 03/05/2019


The American Society of Addiction Medicine reports the following facts:

  1. In 2012, 259 million opioid pain medication prescriptions were written, enough for every adult in America to have at least a bottle of pills.
  2. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with over 20,000 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers.
  3. 48,000 women died of prescription pain reliever overdoses between 1999 and 2010.
  4. Women are more likely to have chronic pain, be prescribed prescription pain relievers, be given higher doses, and use them for longer time periods than men. Women may become dependent on prescription pain relievers more quickly than men.
  5. The prescribing rates for prescription opioids among adolescents and young adults nearly doubled from 1994 to 2007.
  6. From 1999 to 2008, overdose death rates, sales and substance use disorder treatment admissions related to prescription pain relievers increased in parallel. The overdose death rate in 2008 was nearly four times the 1999 rate; sales of prescription pain relievers in 2010 were four times those in 1999; and the substance use disorder treatment admission rate in 2009 was six times the 1999 rate.

What is the answer for people suffering from chronic pain? American’s need to reduce our reliance on pain medications and have an option that helps restore their quality of life. There is plenty of research to show that physical therapy goes a long way to helping the situation.

Physical therapy ISN’T a magic cure, but there are many things that a physical therapist can do to help get you back to a pain free lifestyle. The Center of Disease Control strongly recommends finding ways to manage pain without the use of opioids due to the many harmful side effects including addiction and chronic constipation. Physical therapy assists in getting your body in to moving in pain free motions and helps your body begin to produce its own natural pain relieving hormone, endorphins that are released with increased activity. The chronic use of pain medication suppresses your body’s ability to produce endorphins. The suppression of the hormone causes more resting pain and the increase reliance on the pain medication. Physical therapy can assist with pain relieving modalities that can get you feeling like doing more motion activities. The movement will help arrest the downward spiral of addiction to pain medication for relief of symptoms.

Contact us today if you need help with pain relief without relying on opioids. We can help!


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Opioid Painkiller Prescribing, Where You Live Makes a Difference. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/opioid-prescribing/.

Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1445–1452. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm655051e1

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Prescription Painkiller Overdoses: A Growing Epidemic, Especially Among Women. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/prescriptionpainkilleroverdoses/index.html.

Fortuna RJ, Robbins BW, Caiola E, Joynt M, Halterman JS. Prescribing of controlled medications to adolescents and young adults in the United States. Pediatrics. 2010;126(6):1108-1116.

Paulozzi MD, Jones PharmD, Mack PhD, Rudd MSPH. Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers – United State, 1999-2008. Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011:60:5.