The epidemic of pain pill addiction throughout the entire world, which started booming out of control nearly a few decade ago, has raised alarm across every state in the Unites States of America. Today, it is touching nearly every household across the nation. The dispute of whether it is still ethical to allow these drugs to be used in patients is a constant tug-of-war between supporters on each opposing side. While the local and national governments try to rein the problem in, and medical scientist continue to search for a method to eliminate the addictive property of these beneficial pills, the question remains as to whether these pills always lead to drug abuse and addiction.
Some people believe that the issue is only that certain types of people are more susceptible to the addiction, while others are nearly immune to it. This idea roots back to an individual’s family health history, or one being genetically inclined for certain kinds of diseases, and addiction is also a disease. Other people believe that the power of such chemicals embedded in pain relieving medications is all too powerful, and it can snare addiction upon every user who abuses them.
It is estimated that today, more than 20% of the United States population uses painkillers in a non-prescribed and illegal manner. That number is higher than the amount of people addicted to cocaine and heroin put together. However, before anyone is able to point fingers at addiction, it is important to define the line between addiction and dependency.
For some patients, prescription pills like oxycodone, Percocet and Vicodin are a vital part of the day. In one study, 25,000 cancer patients were observed and studied to see whether or not they were actually addicted to the painkillers that they used on a daily basis for years on end. Most of the patients exhibited no drug-seeking behavior. These patients however, were definitely dependent on the drugs in the sense that the painkillers were necessary to allow normal daily functioning without chronic pain.
On the other hand, those who are addicted feel physical symptoms from withdrawal, which has nothing to do with existing chronic pain. Those addicted to pharmaceuticals experience a necessity to continue taking the medication, which has more to do with mental and physical cravings for the desired effects than just pain management. The compulsion to use the drug prevails no matter what, and it will take control of the person’s life almost in entirety.
The resolute answer to the question of whether pain pills are always addictive is no. However, due to the high level of addicted brought on by the illegal availability of the substance on the streets, and the high amount of overdoses, death, drug-related arrests, and rehab admittance, prescription drugs are still highly potent and dangerous. Because of these circumstances, we all need to be on high alert for illegal drug activities, provide education for young adults to better address the dangers of drug abuse, and an overall awareness of newly emerging drugs.