America's prescription opioid epidemic is a topic of national news.
How bad is the problem? Here are some statistics via The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which released guidelines in March 2016 encouraging health care providers to try safer alternatives like physical therapy for most pain management:
1. In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every American adult to have their own bottle of pills.
2. As many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long term for noncancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.
3. Sales of prescription opioids have nearly quadrupled since 1999.
4. Deaths related to prescription opioids have quadrupled.
5. Heroin-related overdose deaths more than quadrupled between 2002 and 2014, and people addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin.
6. More than 165,000 persons in the United States have died from opioid pain-medication-related overdoses since 1999.
7. Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.
Do you know someone in pain? Encourage them to talk to their physician or physical therapist about safe ways to manage pain.
The American Physical Therapy Association launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of opioids and the safe alternative of physical therapy for long-term pain management. Learn more at our #ChoosePT page.