Aggressive Marketing of Painkillers by Pharma Companies Leading to Abuse & Deaths

Salem: 6/12/14 – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between the years 2000 and 2010, the number of new prescription painkiller users increased by 104 percent, with more than 12 million people reporting their abuse. That same year in the United States, the CDC found that nearly two million people reported the abuse of prescription narcotics, such as Vicodin or OxyContin, for the first time in what the (CDC) is now calling a national public epidemic.

“Recognizing you have a problem is the first step toward recovery,” stated Heidi A. Taylor, LPC, a substance abuse counselor at Mount Regis Center, located in Salem, Virginia. “The next step is asking for help.”

The CDC states that in 2008, there were nearly 15,000 deaths caused by prescription painkiller overdose. The number of deaths from overdose of prescription painkillers is now greater than those from heroin, cocaine, motor vehicle accidents, and suicides combined. Major ground is being broken in California where the pharmaceutical companies are being accused of using aggressive marketing to push prescription drug use by doctors.

Two counties in California – Orange and Santa Clara – allege in a lawsuit filed on May 21, 2014, that five of the major pharmaceutical companies are largely responsible for this nationwide epidemic. The lawsuit states that, 20 years ago, these pharmaceutical companies set out to aggressively market these drugs to both physicians and consumers by downplaying the risks for addiction and other side effects. This campaign allegedly employed deceptive marketing strategies that set about to reverse the ways in which the medical community and patients understood opiates in order to increase profits.

For each death caused by prescription painkillers, there were ten admissions to drug rehabs, 32 visits to the emergency department, 130 people who developed addictions, and 825 people abusing narcotics. The question still remains: who is to blame for this upsurge of prescription painkiller abuse?
There has also been a resurgence of heroin use, which is often cheaper on the street than prescription painkillers and turned to when prescriptions run dry. There are reports of an increase in crime associated with painkiller abuse, and emergency departments across the U.S. are being overwhelmed by the number of visits associated with prescription painkiller misuse.

About Mount Regis Center: Mount Regis Center is a community-focused center, providing inpatient, residential and detox treatment programs, located in Salem, Virginia. As a leader in addiction treatment, our goal is to provide the highest quality of care for men and women, who are struggling with drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. Each patient receives individualized care in a safe, comfortable environment, while working towards recovery. For more information on the drugs we treat and programs offered, visit /heroin.