Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug heroin as well as the licit (legal) prescription pain-relievers, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others.
Opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and nervous system to produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain. Addiction is a primary, chronic and relapsing brain disease characterized by an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
Of the 21.5 million Americans age 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2014, 1.9 million had a substance abuse disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 586,000 had a substance abuse disorder involving heroin.
It is estimated that 23 percent of individuals who use heroin develop opioid addiction.
Source: American Society of Addiction Medicine
Calls have come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for a shift away from opioid use toward non-pharmacologic approaches to address chronic pain.
Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, as have sales of these prescription drugs. From 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people — three times the U.S. military deaths during the twenty years of the Vietnam War — have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids.
Today, at least half of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths involve a prescribed opioid. In 2014, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving these drugs, with the most commonly overdosed opioids — Methadone, Oxycodone (such as OxyContin®), and Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®) — resulting in death.
Regrettably, overdose deaths resulting from opioid abuse have risen sharply in every county of every state across the country, reaching a new peak in 2014: 28,647 people, or 78 people per day – more than three people per hour.
The newest estimates on the cost of opioid abuse to U.S. employers is estimated at $18 billion in sick days, lost productivity and medical expenses.
An important non-pharmacologic approach in helping to solve this crisis is chiropractic care.
This discussion offers greater understanding of the scope of the opioid situation, the elements that have contributed to it and an approach that emphasizes non-pharmacologic care. Collectively, we must begin to extricate ourselves from our current ineffective, dangerous and often fatal reality.
This toolkit will provide the necessary resources to effectively tackle the opioid epidemic, including the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress’ (F4CP) landmark positioning paper, ‘Chiropractic – A Safer Strategy Than Opioids,’ as well as print advertisements, advertorials, social syndications, infographics, social media postings, and more!
Questions or Comments: For additional information or to submit feedback, please contact F4CP Marketing Director Alexis Lignos at firstname.lastname@example.org