Over the past decade, addiction, overdoses and deaths involving non-medical prescription drug use, especially narcotic pain relievers, have risen dramatically. The rate of prescription drug abuse is fast overtaking illegal drug abuse in the United States. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 7 million people were taking prescription drugs for non-medical use in 2010.
A survey done back in 2009 found that of the 3.1 million individuals 12 or older estimated to have used an illicit drug for the first time in 2009, 28.6% initiated use with prescription drugs, second only to those initiating with marijuana (59.1%). Data from this survey also indicates that illicit prescription drug abuse seems to be more common among the rural youths.
Inevitably, this has also led to an increase in overdose deaths and emergency department visits related to the non-medial, illicit use of prescription drugs. The number of deaths related to opioid usage has way surpassed those of heroin and cocaine. The reality is that every 19 minutes, somebody in the United States dies due to prescription drug abuse. The dealers are doctors!
Dr. Len Paulozzi of the Centers for Disease Control states that "the rise in the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, opiates in particular, has been attributed to their increased availability over the last decade, a result of increased prescribing. Increased prescribing in turn has been driven by more aggressive treatment of pain in response to patient advocacy groups, the development of new formulations of opiate analgesics to meet this demand, and increased marketing of opiates by pharmaceutical companies."
This is definitely a growing epidemic that can and is hitting very close to home because such drugs are very accessible. As a girl from Oakville, ON said to Jerry Johnston, "Everybody I know is doing opioid abuse."
That is why the team at Crossroads is taking a hard look into this issue, to bring awareness to the nation of Canada and beyond. We want to present all these issues through a biblical lens. To see how you can help in this outreach, please visit the Crossroads website: www.crossroads.ca.