Prescription drugs are one of the world’s largest industries, with over 4.5 billion prescriptions written each year in the U.S. alone (to a population of 327 million). These pills which comprise everything from saline solutions to incredibly strong drugs like fentanyl. While the vast majority are taken according to a prescription, millions of Americans soon develop a prescription drug addiction to substances including painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives which are either taken as part of a prescription or purchased illegally on the street.
Despite a 19% decrease in opiate prescription between 2005 and 2017, more than 189 million opiate prescriptions were written in the United States in 2017. The CDC estimates that 17% of the United States population receives prescription opiates, with most receiving 3-4 opiate prescriptions each. As a result, somewhere between 26.4 and 36 million Americans are addicted to pain pills, resulting in over 45 overdose related deaths per year.
If you or a loved one is addicted to pain pills, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms, so you can safely get them help and get them into recovery.