Opioid Addiction Now Surpasses Smoking

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November 29, 2016 | 178,969 views

Story at-a-glance

  • More Americans now use prescription opioids than smoke cigarettes. Substance abuse has also eclipsed cancer in terms of prevalence, and costs the U.S. more than the treatment of diabetes
  • Opiates such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and morphine are killing more Americans than car crashes, claiming the lives of more than 49,700 Americans in 2014
  • In 2015, 27 million Americans used illegal drugs and/or misused prescription drugs, and nearly one-quarter of all adolescents and adults reported binge drinking in the previous month

By Dr. Mercola

It's time to face the facts. America has a very serious drug addiction problem, and it stems from overprescription of painkillers. According to a recent report by the U.S. surgeon general, more Americans now use prescription opioids than smoke cigarettes.1

Substance abuse in general has also eclipsed cancer in terms of prevalence. Addiction to opioids and heroin is costing the U.S. more than $193 billion each year. Alcohol abuse is costing another $249 billion. In total, the cost of substance abuse far exceeds the cost of diabetes, which is also at a record high.

Opiates such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and morphine are also killing more Americans than car crashes.2 In 2014, more than 49,700 Americans died from opioid or heroin overdoses while 32,675 died in car accidents. According to the surgeon general's report, in 2015:

Surgeon General Takes Aim at Drug Addiction

In 1964, the U.S. surgeon general's report on the health effects of smoking helped reshape the general attitude toward tobacco use. Surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, hopes his call to action on drug addiction and substance abuse will have a similar impact. As noted in a recent NPR interview with Murthy:3

"We now know from solid data that substance abuse disorders don't discriminate. They affect the rich and the poor, all socioeconomic groups and ethnic groups. They affect people in urban areas and rural ones. Far more people than we realize are affected …

For far too long people have thought about substance abuse disorders as a disease of choice, a character flaw or a moral failing. We underestimated how exposure to addictive substances can lead to full blown addiction.

Opioids are a good example. Now we understand that these disorders actually change the circuitry in your brain … That tells us that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, and we need to treat it with the same urgency and compassion that we do with any other illness."

According to the report, every dollar invested in treatment saves $4 in healthcare costs and lost productivity, and another $7 in reduced criminal justice costs. Murthy's plan to address the addiction epidemic involves policy makers, regulators, scientists, families, schools and local communities.

This amounts to another American bailout, this time taxpayers will be footing the bill for a pharmaceutical induced epidemic - paying the same medical system that caused the problem for the antidote.

A Brief History on Heroin

K-Laser, Class 4 Laser Therapy

If you suffer pain from an injury, arthritis or other inflammation-based pain, I'd strongly encourage you to try out K-Laser therapy. It can be an excellent choice for many painful conditions, including acute injuries. By addressing the underlying cause of the pain, you will no longer need to rely on painkillers.

K-Laser is a class 4 infrared laser therapy treatment that helps reduce pain, reduce inflammation and enhance tissue healing — both in hard and soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments or even bones. The infrared wavelengths used in the K-Laser allow for targeting specific areas of your body and can penetrate deeply into the body to reach areas such as your spine and hip.

Chiropractic

Many studies have confirmed that chiropractic management is much safer and less expensive than allopathic medical treatments, especially when used for pain such as low back pain.

Qualified chiropractic, osteopathic and naturopathic physicians are reliable, as they have received extensive training in the management of musculoskeletal disorders during their course of graduate healthcare training, which lasts between four to six years. These health experts have comprehensive training in musculoskeletal management.

Acupuncture

Research has discovered a "clear and robust" effect of acupuncture in the treatment of back, neck and shoulder pain, osteoarthritis and headaches.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy has been shown to be as good as surgery for painful conditions such as torn cartilage and arthritis.

Massage

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the journal Pain Medicine included 60 high-quality and seven low-quality studies that looked into the use of massage for various types of pain, including muscle and bone pain, headaches, deep internal pain, fibromyalgia pain and spinal cord pain.10

The review revealed that massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no treatment at all. When compared to other pain treatments like acupuncture and physical therapy, massage therapy still proved beneficial and had few side effects. In addition to relieving pain, massage therapy also improved anxiety and health-related quality of life.

Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is one of the most effective fat-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than anti-inflammatory drugs. Higher doses are typically required and you may need 8 milligrams (mg) or more per day to achieve this benefit.

Ginger

This herb has potent anti-inflammatory activity and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.

Curcumin

In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 milligrams (mg) of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility. A past study also found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the overproduction of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.11

Boswellia

Also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," this herb contains specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Bromelain

This enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form but eating fresh pineapple, including some of the bromelain-rich stem, may also be helpful.

Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO)

This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a "joint lubricant" and an anti-inflammatory. I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mildly annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.

Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils

These contain the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.

Cayenne Cream

Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.

Methods such as yoga, Foundation Training, acupuncture, exercise, meditation, hot and cold packs and mind-body techniques can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs.

Grounding

Walking barefoot on the earth may also provide a certain measure of pain relief by combating inflammation.

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References

  • 1 Scientific American, Surgeon General Report Tackles Addiction
  • 2 Forbes November 17, 2016
  • 3 NPR November 17, 2016
  • 4, 5 CNN October 14, 2016
  • 6 Washington Post October 22, 2016
  • 7 STAT News October 24, 2016
  • 8 medicalmarijuana.procon.org, Laws, Fees, and Possession Limits
  • 9 J Neurosci. 2011 Apr 6;31(14):5540-8
  • 10 Pain Medicine May 10, 2016
  • 11 Arthritis & Rheumatism November 2006; 54(11): 3452–3464