Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pain medication addiction reaching epidemic level

Date:
November 19, 2012
Source:
University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)
Summary:
Addiction to pain medication is creating new challenges for physicians. Would you believe -- hydrocodone was the most prescribed drug in America in 2011?

In a recent newspaper article, a Nebraska State Patrol investigator called the abuse of prescription drugs an "epidemic" in the state.

Related Articles


Aly Hassan, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry in the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine, agrees. "Clinically, it's a very common problem," Dr. Hassan said.

But why now? Why is this happening at this moment in time?

Part of it, Dr. Hassan said, is that we're treating pain differently than we did even not so long ago.

"Remember, the '90s was the decade of treatment of pain," Dr. Hassan said. There was a shift in medicine, a change in policy. "An important aspect of that was to consider pain as the fifth vital sign." The four primary vital signs are body temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.

You'll see it often in doctors' offices and clinics: signs on the wall which urge you to rank your discomfort from 1-10.

And there's good reason for that, Dr. Hassan said. It's not that people are not as tough as they used to be. Pain is a serious thing, and should be treated seriously.

"The experience of pain is not only somatic. It's not just the nerve being stimulated," Dr. Hassan said. Acute pain can affect not just quality of life, but quality of health. You can even see it in a person's vital signs.

"When you solve acute pain, all that normalizes," Dr. Hassan said.

It's no wonder the medical field was starting to emphasize the treatment of pain.

But with that came all of these drugs.

In 2011, hydrocodone was the most prescribed drug in America, according to WebMD.

At first, many in the medical community were not worried about drug addiction. If you give a pill to someone in pain, when the pain goes away they'll stop taking it, right?

"The pain patient can be treated with narcotics with little risk of developing the self-destructive behavior characteristic of addiction," concluded a 1990 report "The Use of Narcotics for the Treatment of Chronic Pain," by the Sacramento-El Dorado Medical Society.

But, Dr. Hassan noted in 2012, the makeup of many of these drugs are compatible with addiction in that they absorb very fast, and the half-life of the medicine staying in your system goes very fast. And then you want another.

"The opiates are very addictive for that reason," Dr. Hassan said.

Physicians are in a tough spot. That doesn't absolve them of responsibility.

"This is beyond the level of an individual practitioner," Dr. Hassan said. "This is really a state problem or even a national problem."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). "Pain medication addiction reaching epidemic level." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121119093654.htm>.
University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). (2012, November 19). Pain medication addiction reaching epidemic level. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121119093654.htm
University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). "Pain medication addiction reaching epidemic level." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121119093654.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Humanoid Robot Can Recognise and Interact With People

Humanoid Robot Can Recognise and Interact With People

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 20, 2015) An ultra-realistic humanoid robot called &apos;Han&apos; recognises and interprets people&apos;s facial expressions and can even hold simple conversations. Developers Hanson Robotics hope androids like Han could have uses in hospitality and health care industries where face-to-face communication is vital. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Labour Party Warns Britain's Health Service 'on Life Support'

Labour Party Warns Britain's Health Service 'on Life Support'

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) Britain&apos;s opposition Labour Party Monday claimed the National Health Service (NHS) was &apos;on life support&apos; as it turned its attention to the state-run service, which is a key issue for the UK&apos;s May 7 general election. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Students Back to School After Long Ebola Closure

Sierra Leone Students Back to School After Long Ebola Closure

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 20, 2015) After an eight-month break, children in Sierra Leone return to school for the first time since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen E-Cigarette Use Triples, Government Debates Regulations

Teen E-Cigarette Use Triples, Government Debates Regulations

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2015) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2014, 13.4 percent of high school students reported smoking an e-cigarette within 30 days. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins