Public Health Epidemic: Painkiller Overdose

Prescription painkiller overdoses have become a public health epidemic in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”).  Deaths associated with prescription painkillers, such as hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone, have surpassed the number of deaths from cocaine and heroin combined. The Chicago Tribune reported on the CDC’s report and the CDC website provides additional information, resources, and suggestions for prevention.

Chicago is no exception to this new “rule”.  During my clinical training at a hospital in the Chicago suburbs, a majority of the patients I worked with struggled with either abusing or being addicted to prescription medication.

Each day hospitals and Illinois are making cuts to behavioral health services and addiction counseling services, with dire consequences.  A person left with no peer or professional support will cycle in and out of hospitals due to insufficient treatment until death breaks the cycle.  The cycle of multiple admissions will inevitably cost hospitals and state programs more than if adequate behavioral health and addiction programs were maintained.  Cutting departments to save money is not a cost-effective solution and it ultimately fails the individual and the community.

Addiction counseling is a necessary and invaluable service for prevention, intervention, and relapse prevention for individuals with substance abuse and addiction problems. Please view our links page for additional resources to learn more about substance abuse, addiction, and addiction counseling.  If you need a counselor to speak with, please contact us for a confidential conference.


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