Dr. Lori Carnsew, president-elect of the S.C. Academy of Family Physicians recently addressed the problem of the overuse of prescription drugs in the South Carolina Family Physicians magazine.
This overuse fits the criteria of an epidemic. The deaths from illegal drugs is well addressed by the press. But the deaths from prescription drugs almost equals the deaths from illegal drugs and gunshot wounds combined. The U.S. has 4.6 percent of the world's population but uses 80 percent of the world's opiates, morphine-like drugs. And we use 99 percent of the world's supply of hydrocodone (vicodan, loratab).
The treatment of chronic pain presents a problem for physicians. Pain is subjective. We doctors rely on what our patients tell us. There are patients who abuse the medications we prescribe.
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