The use of painkillers in the US has reached its peak

A recent analysis of the data provided by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has shown that the US citizens today are taking more painkillers like tramadol than ever before throughout the history. The study comprised a ten year period, and since 1997 the was a 90 per cent increase in painkiller medication consumption as reported by hospitals, pharmacies, and individual doctors.



The figures show that in the last year of the study the US population has consumed over 200,000 pounds of such painkillers as codeine, hydrocodone, meperidine, morphine, and oxycodone. If put in per capita perspective that means that every American consumed about 300 milligrams of analgesics.


One of the most used painkillers from that number were those containing oxycodone, which is the active element in the painkiller OxyContin. There was an astronomical increase of 600 per cent in sales in only 8 years of the study. Previously oxycodone was called "hillbilly heroin" because it was primarily traded over the counter in the Appalachia region and used for recreational purposes. However, today it is widely sold in big metropolitan areas from East to West.


Specialists suggest that there is a set of reasons behind such a skyrocketing use of analgesics among US citizens:



  • The nation becomes older in age group proportions.

  • Drugs have become much wider and more aggressively marketed with almost a triple increase in advertising spendings during the last ten years.

  • Painkillers have become the cornerstone of the way the pain is treated and managed nowadays.


The last reason draws up more concerns from the part of professionals. It seems like it's easier for an individual to take Tramadol pill for example and forget about the pain, rather than address a doctor to see whether there's a health issue to be concerned with. Not speaking of exercises and improvements in lifestyle. Painkiller pills have become the fast solution for any trouble, but can they stand up with the array of public health issues that may arise in the future due to such tendencies. We'll see.



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