According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2019, an average of 130 Americans per day were dying of an opioid overdose. In fact, the opioid epidemic has caused an unprecedented crisis for everyday Americans who trusted their doctors to prescribe safe medication.
In the 1990’s, physicians were assured that the new class of opioid drugs were not addictive and could be safely prescribed to those suffering pain, such as after a car accident. This led to hundreds of thousands of citizens being given opioids to combat their pain, to devastating results. By 2017 an average of 47,000 Americans were dying from the usage of these medications; and 1.7 million were dealing with crippling addictions.
How could this happen? There are several reasons that opioids became so prolific. As stated above, the pharmaceutical industry told doctors that the drugs were safe to prescribe, and they did so freely.
A second societal reason for the rapid acceptance of opioids may be the legality of drug advertising to the direct consumer. The United States is one of only a handful of countries which allows this type of advertising, and the drug companies take advantage of it. Consumers are inundated with information regarding pharmaceutical drugs – whether over TV, radio, or in print. Over time, many consumers believe that the only answer to their pain is a painkiller, and insist on this type of remedy.
No one blames the unsuspecting patient, who is simply in pain and looking for relief. For years, the data showing the addiction rate was not available, and many well meaning doctors prescribed these medications. But these statistics are now available, and may be shocking.
- Up to 29% of patients prescribed opioids for pain will misuse them
- Up to 12% develop addiction
- Between 4-6% transition to heroin
- 80% of heroin users began on prescription opioids
- In just 14 months (July 2016 to September 2017) overdoses increased 30%.
- Overdoses increased 54% in large cities and over 70% in the Midwest during the same period. Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The Healthcare Dilemma
The healthcare system in the United States currently does not encourage people to seek out healthcare which will work best for them. Rather, they are incented to choose the options which are covered by insurance. Therefore many are forced to choose pharmaceutical solutions because they are advertised to them and prescribed, versus holistic solutions which are exposed in a meaningful way.
Yet the opioid crisis only accentuates the fact that many drugs prescribed by the medical community do not solve health problems – they simply mask symptoms. In many cases, such as described above, the drugs can make things exponentially worse.
Chiropractic care, by comparison, treats the source of the illness or injury, safely and naturally. It is impossible to overdose on chiropractic care. And while you may “get addicted” to your chiropractic treatments, you will only get healthier and stronger.
Take Control of Your Care
If you are experiencing chronic pain due to a car accident or any other reason, contact an experienced chiropractor today for a consultation.
Staying healthy, and healing without the introduction of dangerous and addictive drugs, is crucial to your long-term health. Call West Coast Wellness today to discuss treatment options and affordable payment plans.