America's opioid epidemic is being felt nationwide.
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 pursue 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. More than 4 in 10 of long-term users say they started taking them for chronic pain (44%) while 25% say they started due to pain after surgery, and another 25% say they started for pain after an accident or injury.
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. Opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record. Nearly half of those deaths involved prescription opioids.
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’s #ChoosePT campaign raises awareness about the risks of opioids and the safe alternative of physical therapy for long-term pain management.