“… between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide, with an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin.”
– Volkow. Testimony to Congress. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2014
“Push through the pain” might be a popular work-out mantra, but hospital employees and other caregivers dislike seeing their patients in pain. Often, physicians prescribe opioid analgesics to relieve the pain. Unfortunately, this can lead to dependence and addiction. Opioid addiction is at an all-time high in the U.S. and manifests itself through prescription analgesics and heroin use.
Although the United States contains less than five percent of the global population, people in the U.S. consume about 80 percent of the world supply of opioids, according to a 2015 Medscape article. Most people who use opioids nonmedically get their drugs from trusted sources. About 75 percent get their opioids from a doctor or friends and family members who share their prescription medications at no cost. This sharing of drugs puts adolescents at high risk of opioid abuse, along with the increase of physician prescriptions of opioids for adolescents.
Nonmedical use of opioid analgesics can lead to heroin addiction. “About 75% of opioid addiction disease patients switch to heroin as a cheaper opioid source,” according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s 2015 Facts & Figures. Heroin, a street drug, has unpredictable potency because of its inconsistent dosing and concentration. This can increase the risk of accidental overdoses and death.
Opioid addiction is a problem in the United States, both in terms of prescription opioid analgesics and heroin. Orbis Biosciences has developed a long-lasting analgesic that improves compliance and lowers the risk of dependence and addiction. No patient should have to push through the pain or risk the pain that comes from addiction.