A Look at the Rising Prevalence of Prescription Opioid Abuse

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One of the most significant drug problems in the United States comes not from street drugs or illegal substances, but from prescription opioids. These drugs, which are commonly prescribed for pain relief are very habit forming and they are unfortunately prescribed in many cases where they may not be necessary. If you are striving to maintain a drug-free workplace, it is important to understand the prevalence of prescription opioid abuse as well as the signs to look for in your employees.

High Prescription Rates

Unfortunately, opioid drugs are prescribed readily and often, and in some cases, there are likely better pain management solutions available, such as physical therapy. Unlike these solutions, however, prescriptions do not require prior approval from insurance companies, and they do not require much face time between patients and doctors, so they are seen as an easy solution. In the United States, patients are prescribed opioid drugs much more often than counterparts in other nations, including France, Portugal, Denmark, and Germany. In addition, they are often prescribed more doses than they need, so there is a higher risk of abuse.

High Chances of Addiction

Along with the prevalence of opioid drugs for patients of all ages and backgrounds, it is important to consider the highly addictive qualities of these drugs. Opioids are habit forming, so the brain quickly gets tricked into wanting more, which not only means more frequent doses, but also higher ones.

Signs of Abuse

You should remember that anyone can suffer an opioid addiction, regardless of age, background, or gender. Because these drugs are so readily available and prescribed so often, they account for 27% of the world’s total overdose deaths in the U.S. alone. Some of the common signs of abuse to look for include chills, agitation, sweating, nausea, stomach pain, and fatigue.


When you need to design policies for a drug-free workplace of implement drug testing for your employees, Oschmann Employee Screening Services can help. For a look at our professional services, visit our website or call us at (800) 224-8532.

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