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80% of world’s pain medication used in U.S.

Yes you read that right, Americans use 80% of the world’s pain medication.  Pain medication prescriptions are up 600% in the last ten years.  Estimated at 110 tons of opiates, enough to give every person in the US the equivalent of 64 percocets.  It’s estimated prescription pain pill abuse is responsible for 14,800 deaths per year, that’s not including medical errors and side effects which can lead to death.

Source: MailOnline  Photo: Public Domain

Not the best source, the information/research was obtained from The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.  This is a fascinating phenomenon, even as I watch it unfolding before my eyes.  Even 5 years ago most patients entering my office would not be on any pain medication unless experiencing an acute episode.  But within that time patient now commonly will be on an indefinite pain medication prescription, meaning they are taking some kind of pain medication all of the time regardless if they have pain or are experiencing an acute pain episode.  This interferes greatly with their rehabilitation and their ability to even understand what “pain free” really means.

We are seeing the sequelae of patients wanting a quick fix to their pain, although to some extent this is due to the lack of options when it comes to actually treating their pain.  Take low back pain for example, it can be a long road with lots of work and diligence to rehabilitate a back to become pain free, offering an alternative where you can just swallow a pill is pretty hard to compete with.

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