We call it an epidemic.
Nearly 1.9 million Americans are affected
It kills 52 people every day.
It is not a heart disease, cancer or a car accident.
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We are talking about Vicodin dependence, and it’s being called one of the most fatal drug crisis on record in United States history.
Here are 10 things you might not know.
1) Some Attribute the Current Epidemic to the Government
In 2000, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) established guidelines for assessing pain. The standards, backed by pain management specialists, included a mandatory numerical pain score.
The 10-point numerical scale was based on self-reported pain from patients. Support for the recommendation came from a study which reported: “emergency department nurses significantly underestimated patients’ pain.”
The use of prescription pain opioid drugs, saw a significant increase from 2000 to 2002, with no complementary increase in the length of a patient’s stay.
A report from The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) asked, “Has safety been compromised in our noble efforts to alleviate pain?”
The answer seems to be, yes.
2) Vicodin Tolerance and Dependence can be caused by Extended Intake of the Drug.
Physicians are being warned to shorten the length of time they prescribe an opioid. They are encouraged to educate patients about non-opioid alternative methods for pain management.
A new CDC investigation found that patients who received narcotic painkillers for less than 3 days were less likely to develop dependency.
The same study reported that the likelihood of dependency increased 13.5% for persons whose first prescription was for more than 8 days. This jumped to an astounding 29.9% when the first dosage was for 31 days or more.
3) Vicodin has Similar Risks and Effects of Heroin
Prescription opioids such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone have similar chemical compositions to heroin. They also have very similar effects on the mind and body.
This is one of the main reasons people abuse substances like Vicodin.
4 out of 5 heroin users report they started using opioids for pain relief. A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirms this. It says: “In 2008-2010, 82.6% of frequent nonmedical users who used heroin in the past year reported nonmedical use of opioid pain relievers prior to heroin initiation compared to 64.1% in 2002-2004.”
Tragically, about four percent of those who abuse opioid painkillers will transition to heroin use and addiction.
4) Long-Term Use can have Additional Consequences other than Overdose
Long-term use can also lead to:
- Abnormal pain sensitivity
- Amenorrhea or irregular menses
- Increased risk of AFib, heart attack, and heart infection
- Galactorrhea, excessive or inappropriate production of milk
- Increased risk of overdose
- Reduced energy and drive
- Fertility Reduction
- Reduced libido
- Testosterone depletion
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study on the serious adverse effects, other than overdose. Researchers from Vanderbilt University found a frightening fact about people who take hydrocortisone-like drugs for chronic pain.
People with a Vicodin dependence are more likely to die from cardiovascular or respiratory problems than from accidental overdose.
5) Overdose Rates are at Epidemic Proportions
Fatal drug overdose was the leading cause of accidental death in 2015.
Total deaths = 52,404
Overuse of prescription opioid painkillers, including Vicodin seems to be driving this epidemic.
Total prescription drug related deaths = 20,101
And those numbers are progressively on the rise. The rate of death due to prescription drug overdose continuous to multiply.
6) Medicaid Patients are also at High-Risk
Research shows that certain populations exhibit risk factors that make them more vulnerable to prescription abuse and overdose. One such group is Medicaid recipients.
Data from a 2010 study confirmed 40% of Medicaid enrollees with pain relief prescriptions exhibited one or more of the following risk factors for drug dependence:
- Obtained multiple prescriptions from different doctors and pharmacies
- Were prescribed long-acting or extended release prescription pain relievers for acute pain
- Received overlapping prescriptions for different pain relievers
- Prone to taking high doses than prescribed by their doctor
7) Teens need more Preventative Education on Drug Addiction
When surveyed, 50% of teens are convinced that illegal street drugs are more dangerous than prescription drugs. However, 60% to 70% admit to obtaining the drugs from their medicine cabinet at home.
According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) more than 5,700 youth in 2014 reported using prescription opioid painkillers, without a doctor’s prescription.
The outlook is not good if intervention doesn’t begin early. For instance, teens who abuse prescription drugs are twice as likely to use alcohol, five times more likely to use marijuana, and 12 times more likely to use heroin.
8) Women Addicted to Opioids has Become a Growing Concern
Vicodin dependence affects women differently than men.
The percentage of deaths among women increased by an unbelievable 400% since 1999.
The publication, CDC Vital Signs, lists the following reasons for this dramatic increase in women’s prescription drug abuse:
- More likely to have chronic pain
- Prescribed painkillers at higher doses
- Use them for longer time periods than men
- Experience Vicodin dependence more quickly than men
- More likely than men to obtain prescriptions from multiple prescribers
9) Our Veterans are also caught up in the Opioid Epidemic
Veterans who served our country suffer from chronic pain. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), almost 60% of those returning from the Middle East and more than 50% of older Veterans live with some form of chronic pain.
Chronic pain management is challenging for the VA. Unfortunately, the system has been plagued by poorly managed pain relief regimens.
In 2011, the Health Services Research and Development Service reported some tragic statistics. They found that veterans were dying from prescription drug overdoses at nearly twice the national average.
Although the VA continues to address the problem, opiate and Vicodin dependence among veterans continues to grow.
10) Opioid Drugs can Greatly Impair Driving Abilities
In some states, law enforcement agencies are pushing for DUI, and more specifically DUID, laws.
Currently, 22 states have some form of Driving Under Impairment of Drugs law in place. These DUID laws cover all drugs. Some states even have Zero Tolerance per se laws: illegal to drive with any amount of specified drugs in the body.
How to find the Best Treatment for Vicodin Dependence?
One of the most successful opioid detoxification is the Waismann Method®. This treatment provides patients with a private facility and licensed medical personnel, with decades of experience to help you get through the withdrawal phase with as discomfort as possible.
Why choose Waismann Method® Rapid Detox?
Because our mission is to reverse opiate dependence — humanely, safely, and effectively.
Contact the Waismann Rapid Detox center for a confidential discussion with one of our detox experts.