The overdose of painkillers kills more than sixty Americans every day, and between 2005 and 2014 there was a 99 percent increase in the number of people going to an emergency room because of it. But according to the American Psychological Association, doctors have been reluctant to prescribe treatment designed to prevent addiction. At Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Andrew Huhn says Suboxone was approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder back in 2002. But research by the A-P-A found many doctors are not willing to increase their use of it.
According to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, there were more than 14-hundred overdose deaths last year in the state. Reports from coroners show that 34-percent of the deaths involved the use of heroin, up six percent from 2015.
Methadone is the other drug prescribed for opioid addiction, but many in the regulatory and law-enforcement communities are concerned that both it and Suboxone are being abused at high rates. According to A-P-A research, doctors are concerned about the number of patients requesting treatment for painkiller abuse, and many don’t have the time to take on new patients. Huhn says it’s a crisis that keeps getting worse every year, and he adds it’s destroying lives.
Government data published earlier this year estimated that 1-point-27 million people were hospitalized or sought help at an emergency room for opioid-related issues in 2014.