Opioid | The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

Opioid

This commonly prescribed medication is contributing to the opioid epidemic

It’s not an opioid but this pain medication has recently been linked with a significant percentage of drug-related deaths in Louisville, Kentucky. The Courier Journal reported that in 2016, gabapentin, also known as Neurontin, Gralise or Horizant, was present in nearly one-fourth of fatal overdoses within the commonwealth’s largest city.

How to store and dispose of your prescription pain relievers

In 2016, U.S. pharmacies dispensed more than 214 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers such as Vicodin and OxyContin – enough for every adult American to have a full bottle of these pills. However, most people receiving these prescriptions report using only some or none of the pills. As many as 92 percent of people recovering from surgery stop taking their medications before the pills run out. Yet, only about one-quarter properly store or dispose of their unused meds – leaving the highly addictive prescriptions vulnerable to fall into the wrong hands.

Drug Use Disorder vs. Drug Misuse - What is the Difference?

In 2016, approximately 2.1 million Americans over the age of 11 suffered from addiction to opioids such as the prescription pain medications OxyContin and Vicodin or the illegal drug heroin. Yet, 11.8 million people – nearly six times as many – reported misusing opioids, primarily prescription medications.

Although it does not receive the same media attention as addiction – clinically known as opioid use disorder - this startling figure highlights a serious yet often overlooked problem within our society: the issue of opioid misuse.

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