In 2014, there were 33,000 deaths due to car accidents, and 47,500 deaths from drug overdoses. 29,500 of those drug overdoses were due to pain medication and heroin use. Overprescribing of pain pills has increased by over 50% from 1992 to 2013. Nearly 10 million Americans take some form of pain medication, and it is estimated that 7 million of them are either dependent or addicted.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid medication, has one of the highest overdose rates in the United States. It is a very fast-acting opiate and this prevents the opioid blocker naloxone from being an effective treatment. Approximately 20% of these pain medication prescriptions are written by primary care providers and internists, rather than pain management specialists. Dr. Cidambi encourages physicians to keep these statistics in mind before writing a prescription for an opioid medication.Indra Cidambi, MD Medical Director: Center for Network Therapy