Painkiller Addiction: Real Facts and Statistics Behind the Prescription Drug Epidemic

Written By: Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.

Published on Sep 26, 2014 | Rehab Treatment Options

Painkiller Addiction Facts and Statistics

painkiller addiction facts

Painkiller addiction is nothing new. Ancient cultures all over the world used opium, both to treat pain and to catch a buzz. During the Civil War, morphine addiction was called the soldier’s disease, due to its prevalence among fighting troops. During the early 20th century, heroin was sold legally in Sear’s catalog!

However, the recent rise of prescription painkiller abuse and addiction are unprecedented. Never has there been a time when people were using opioid drugs with such frequency or in such numbers. Because of this massive intake of painkillers, there’s a lot of false information out there. People think they know painkiller addiction facts simply because they’ve taken painkillers. People think because they’ve taken Vicodin, they’re medical experts.

So, what’s the truth about painkiller addiction facts? Which painkiller addiction statistics are real? Which are skewed?

Learn accurate facts about painkiller addiction with Lighthouse Recovery Institute!

Painkiller Addiction Facts

Find six painkiller addiction facts below:

• The most common prescription painkillers are hydrocodone products (Vicodin, Norco, Lortab, etc.) and oxycodone products (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Percocet, etc.). Morphine products, although the first type of painkiller, have fallen out of popularity.

• In fact, hydrocodone products are the most prescribed drugs in the United States. They’re also the most diverted and abused prescription drug, painkiller, or otherwise, in the country.

• The U.S. consumes 99% of the world’s hydrocodone and over 80% of the world’s oxycodone.

• Even when used as prescribed, painkillers are addicting. Physical dependence can develop in as little as two weeks of taking the prescribed amount.

• Prescription painkillers account for three out of four prescription drug overdoses. In fact, as of 2009, prescription drugs caused more deaths than automobile accidents.

• Painkillers kill more people than cocaine and heroin combined.

Painkiller Addiction Statistics

Find seven painkiller addiction statistics below:

• 10% of high school seniors admit to engaging in painkiller abuse.

• In 2009, painkillers sent over 475,000 people to the ER.

• In 2010, over twelve million people admitted to the nonmedical use of prescription painkillers.

• In 2012, just over two million people met the criteria for painkiller addiction.

• In 2012, almost two million people abused painkillers for the first time. Of these, over 370,000 abused OxyContin.

• In 2012, 2.2% of adolescents (ages twelve to seventeen) engaged in nonmedical painkiller use.

• In 2012, approximately 973,000 people were admitted to treatment centers for painkiller abuse.

Do methadone and Suboxone really work?

What Do These Painkiller Addiction Facts and Statistics Mean For You?

These statistics and facts about painkiller addiction mean only one thing – we’ve got a major problem on our hands! The U.S. is prescribing, consuming, abusing, and becoming addicted to painkillers like never before.

Why is this? That’s a complicated question with no easy answer. However, there is good news! With more people taking painkillers, comes more people seeking treatment. In 2002, 360,000 people were admitted to treatment centers for painkiller abuse. That number rose to 973,000 people in 2012.

There’s help out there. If you think you may have a problem with painkillers, reach out! It’s important to remember that you’re not alone!

Is there new hope to end the painkiller overdose epidemic?

Are you or a loved one suffering from a painkiller addiction? At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we’ve been there.

In fact, many of our staff are in long-term recovery. We know what it’s like to be unable to stop binge drinking or compulsively using drugs. Let us show you another way, a sober way.

Cite This Article
Lighthouse Editorial Team. "Painkiller Addiction: Real Facts and Statistics Behind the Prescription Drug Epidemic." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Published on Sep 26, 2014, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/painkiller-addiction-facts/.

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