Prescription Drug Abuse On The Rise In Colorado

There is an alarming trend in drug abuse, and it is often found right in your own medicine cabinet. The fact is, hundreds of Coloradans are dying each year of a drug overdose; but they aren't the drugs found on street corners or dark alleys. They are, instead, prescription drugs which are designed to help improve a patient's quality of life. These powerful drugs often end up being the cause of addiction in even the must unsuspecting people. From the put together soccer mom to the construction worker who got hurt in a work accident--prescription drugs are claiming more and more victims each year.

Between 2000 and 2008, the number of deaths as a result of prescription drug overdoses more than doubled with 49% of drug-related deaths in Denver between 2003 and 2008 being attributed to prescription drugs. The numbers are staggering, and they continue to rise every single year. The number one group of people who fall prey to prescription drug abuse are young people under the age of 24. This age group contributes to almost 30 percent of all admissions into treatment facilities in Colorado each year.

So why is prescription drug abuse rising so quickly in Colorado? There are a number of factors which have contributed to the sharp incline in the prescription drug problem in Colorado. Genetic predisposition aside, the availability of prescription drugs is one of the biggest contributing factors to the rise in prescription drug abuse. Among the most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioids, and it's no wonder--the ready access to these types of powerful prescriptions make them easy to abuse. Inherently, opioids work to dull pain by flooding the brain with dopamine--feelgood hormones which indicate pleasure and euphoria. Unfortunately, they work so well at doing what they are supposed to that people tend to abuse these drugs.

In March of 2013, the U.S. Attorney for Colorado called the prescription drug problem an epidemic. The statement comes on the heels of two doctors being indicted recently due to overprescribing painkillers--of course there are probably dozens more who haven't even been caught yet. These doctors are utilizing the addictiveness of these drugs to their advantage and by charging a huge fee for an office visit, they get addicted patients to flock to their offices for a short medical exam where they walk out of the office with a prescription for hundreds of strong painkillers.

The statistics related to Colorado prescription drug abuse is shocking. In 2010, there were twice as many deaths as the result of overdose of prescription painkillers than drunk driving. Prescription drug abuse among Coloradans truly is of epidemic proportions. Many people don't realize the medicine they have in their bathroom cabinets can be so harmful in the wrong hands. Almost 20% of people have admitted to taking prescription drugs incorrectly for the purposes of feeling high. Each year, these numbers continue to climb, creating a frightening trend for Coloradans and leading to more deaths each year as the result of prescription drug abuse and overdose. 33% of high school students in Denver report having taken prescription drugs for other purposes than what they were prescribed for. The reason many turn to prescription drugs is because they feel they are "safer" than illegal drugs. For many, prescription drugs are easier to get than beer, making them more likely to be abused than any other type of drug.