(NaturalNews) There has been a recent epidemic of opium-addiction that is growing fast as one of America's drug problems. The CDC says this is not coming from foreign cartels, traffickers or drug dealers, but from the pharmacy that so many visit for prescribed medicines. These opiate-based drugs include Vicodin, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, and other opioid pain relievers. The CDC says that last year alone, enough of these drugs were prescribed to medicate each and every American adult with "five mg of hydrocodone (Vicodin and others), taken every four hours, for a month, and have led to over 40,000 drug overdose deaths."
Currently, there are more overdose deaths from these prescribed drugs than heroin and cocaine combined. Furthermore, the consumption of these drugs are costing health insurers approximately $72.5 billion annually. As many people know, the problem also lies in the fact that the underlying causes are not being managed, but rather just the pain when it comes to pain killers like these.
Opiate-based drugs are by far the most addictive painkillers available, and sadly, people who take these medications to cope with legitimate pain can find themselves becoming addicted. Even the doctors who prescribe these medications are at risk - some studies show that as many as 10 percent of the doctors who are prescribing these painkillers can become addicted.
Why are these painkillers so addictive? The opiates themselves and the effect they have on the human brain are the reason. The opiates found in these prescription drugs create and release artificial endorphins in the brain, creating warm and good feelings. With regular use, the brain stops making these endorphins and the only way the user can experience the same feeling is to continue taking these drugs. After the body stops producing these endorphins, the user now must take these drugs to avoid feeling bad. It isn't used as a way to feel good anymore, but rather to avoid negative feelings.
It is unfortunate that these addictions are becoming common, and there are many factors that attribute to this epidemic. Part of the problem lies in doctors, where they may find it more efficient to prescribe medication to help the pain instead of spend more time on the underlying cause of the pain. Another problem are the patients, demanding immediate relief from pain rather than allowing doctors to follow steps in properly curing them. Government too could better police prescriptions to ensure that this problem isn't spiraling out of control.
If all these elements worked together, there would be a much greater chance to eliminate this unfortunate epidemic. The end result is tragic for patients, when there are so many options of alternative medicine or natural remedies without depending on prescribed medications.