The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday recommended new restrictions on the use of some prescription painkillers. Citing a reported dramatic increase in the number of overdose deaths related to opioid-based painkillers over the last decade.
The only element of The Wizard of Oz that stood out to me as a boy was the field of red poppies. Did a part of my subconscious internalize this foreshadowing of the devastating journey that I would take through my own poppy field many years later?
Our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters are dying from these overdoses at rates never seen before. Every three minutes, a woman visits an emergency department for opioid misuse or abuse. That accounts for more than 200,000 emergency department visits a year.
To put this in perspective, try and imagine the DEA caught an average American with a $45,000 annual income diverting millions of OxyContin on the black market and then settled with the American for a $47.25 fine and no criminal charges.
Reporter Barry Meier has written his first Kindle Single A World of Hurt: Fixing Pain Medicine's Biggest Mistake. In it, he looks at the over-prescription of the drug OxyContin. Within a week of publication, the book already landed among the top 10 best-selling e-book singles.
High schools and colleges across our nation need to be aware of this growing threat and the need to educate students about the dangers of prescription drug misuse along with excessive drinking and illegal drug abuse.
The relatively recent epidemic of opium-addiction is now America's fastest growing drug problem. While the consequences of this prescription-driven epidemic may be largely invisible to the general public, it is all too clear to doctors like myself.