The current generation has the highest addiction rate than any other group – ever. And painkillers are the culprits, as oxycontin addiction, codeine addiction, opana addiction and vicodin addiction are all on the rise.
According to Richard Miech, a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado, Denver, the current generation’s abuse of prescription pain medications is “higher than any generation ever measured.” In fact, it is 40% higher than the previous generation.
Here are some alarming statistics from a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health:
- Emergency room visits related to prescription painkiller abuse have increased by 129% between 2004 and 2009
- There have been 3 times as many accidental overdoses resulting in death between the 1990s and 2007
- There has been a 500% increase in those seeking addiction treatment in drug rehab centers, especially addiction rehabs for young adults, between 1997 and 2007
- The number of hydrocodone, oxycodone and similar legal prescriptions in the US have increased from 40 million in 1991 to 180 million in 2007.
With greater availability of prescription drugs comes a greater propensity for addiction and accidental overdose. The current generation’s access to oxycodone, and similar highly addictive opiate products, is unprecedented and they are often getting them from friends and family members. Miech warns that accessibility of these prescriptions is underestimated, asserting, “Most people recognize the dangers of leaving a loaded gun lying around the house. What few people realize is that far more people die as a result of unsecured prescription medications.”
The current generation is comprised of adults and young adults referred to as “generation X” and “generation Y.” Although many are filling up emergency rooms, the good news is that they are also seeking addiction treatment. Reputable addiction treatment centers like Harmony Foundation are responding to these admissions by creating specific programs catering to young adults and adults with opiate addictions. Through specialized programs including detox, therapy and support groups, young adults and adults addicted to pain killers have a real chance at sustaining life long sobriety – and potentially lowering the historically high rate of accidental overdoses.