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May 25, 2016 10:15 AM EDT

Drug Abuse, Opioid Addiction: Painkiller Prescription Declines; Death Toll Increases

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Drug abuse and opioid addiction due to prescription painkiller in the state are said to cause deaths of many Americans.

While the prescriptions today show a decline in number, the death toll of drug addiction shows an increase in amount. Could it be that drug addicts found an alternative?

According to the IMS Health, the highly addictive opioid being prescribed for patients, are showing a decline in the US. It goes down up to 17 million less. However, it seems that there is a new demand due to the limited prescriptions, the New York Times has learned.

There is an alternative to opioids as prescription painkiller, found in the market

Opioid is an epidemic drug abuse. The abuse increases after there is a report that reveals more expenses on the prescription drugs as an alternative to opioids. For instance, gabapentin, which according to WebMD, is a medication to relieve nerve pain and control seizures.

Fewer prescriptions painkiller do not lead to fewer deaths

According to the FDA website, opioid prescriptions are mostly given to treat chronic pain. In 2011, there is a sharp increase in opioid deaths related prescription abuse. Thus, the recent data collected by IMS Health in 2015 shows decline for the first time but apparently the overdose still continues to increase.

Furthermore, IMS also states that albeit prescriptions on hydrcodone declines, generic oxycodone spending goes up.

Policy puzzle of prescription painkiller and drug abuse

In the US, opioids are essential for ailments. Chronic cancer or surgery pain has to be treated with painkiller at some points. After opioids are allowed to be used in backpain treatment, the prescriptions exploded up to $10 billion sales. The phenomena have caused side effects. For instance, doctors found that some teens abused prescription drugs, Vicodin, once used in their dental treatments.

Similar to Vicodin; drugs like Oxycontin and Percocet are also painkillers often abused. It implicates that limiting access to prescription drugs to reduce opioid addiction, may not be an effective effort, because there is easy access to these painkillers that could likely to cause the drug abuse.

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