The billboard in Indiana announced, “Every 25 minutes someone dies from prescription drug overdose.” As shocking as that may sound… according to the Partnership for a Drug Free World, prescription drug abuse claims a life every 19 minutes. What’s more, the CDC states that 100 people die every day from the same – which is a rate of one every 14.4 minutes.

There is no disputing that America has an Rx drug problem. In fact, the problem has risen to such epic proportions that many states, including Indiana, have started placing billboards along the interstate highways to inform the public on how detrimental the problem is and how they can get help.

Defining the Problem

The most commonly abused type of prescription drugs are opiates such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin, to name a few. These drugs are generally prescribed after injury or to control pain after surgery; however, it should be understood that all prescription drug abuse is considered in the statistics including benzodiazepines, anti-psychotics, stimulants, opiates, sedatives and antidepressants.

The problem lies in the fact that many people do not stop taking the drug after there is no longer a legitimate reason to continue its use. It is a common misconception that the majority of individuals believe that because the drug is issued by a physician that it will not harm them.

Addiction sets in with continued and severe abuse. As an individual continues use, tolerance will develop. Tolerance means that it will take more of the drug to achieve the same effects as with previous use. Overdose, especially accidental overdose generally occurs as a result of continually increasing the amount taken.

Rx Abuse a Gateway to Illicit Drugs

Another alarming issue is that research shows that prescription drug abuse has become a gateway to other illicit drug use, specifically heroin. A recent scare across America was a “bad batch” of Fentanyl laced heroin which reportedly led to dozens of deaths in eastern states and of course the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Solving the Problem

Sadly, there is no quick fix to the epidemic sweeping America. Tougher drug laws and stricter control on the number of prescriptions which may be written may offer some help, but education and recovery assistance will go a long way to help in the solution. Changes in healthcare laws now make it possible for individuals struggling with substance abuse to get the help they need, including detox and rehab. However, unless people are aware, they may go without getting the necessary help.

The fact is that more people die from prescription drug overdose than in car accidents and homicides combined…and this is something that has to change.

Author's Bio: 

Lara Schuster writes for Gallus Medical Detox Centers. Gallus Detox provides safe drug and alcohol detox with customized IV therapy to comfortably alleviate withdrawal symptoms and patients are monitored 24/7 by ICU level nurses. This proven detox method was developed by Dr. Patrick Gallus after 15-plus years as an emergency room physician caring for alcohol and drug addicted patients. Gallus Medical Detox Centers features upscale private rooms, HDTV, Wi-Fi and personal massage. Patient confidentiality is always protected.