Earth & Conservation

How America Got Addicted to Painkillers

Drug overdoses are at record levels -- some call it an epidemic.

In the 1990s, 100 million Americans were dealing with chronic pain, and doctors just didn't have a good solution. But after succumbing to pressure from advocacy groups and the government, many began prescribing opioid painkillers, like Percocet, OxyContin, and Vicodin, according to Vox.

Unfortunately, millions of people became addicted to these opioid painkillers and many were overdosing on them. Doctors felt they had no choice but to reduce the frequency of prescriptions, but because so many people were already addicted, they began turning to heroin, another opioid, when they could no longer get their pills.

The issue of how to treat chronic pain without opioids is still a problem. Studies now suggest that medical marijuana might be a good alternative because it can be very effective in treating persistent pain.

via Vox

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