America’s Epidemic of Opioid Abuse

Thanks, in part, to the generous support of the NIHCM, this month we are releasing four special episodes on Opioids. We hope you enjoy them. This week’s …


  1. 17 year user here,. 10+ on. Methadone for various lengths of time ”depending how long I could afford it, or until I lost transportation to the only clinic in the city over 15 miles away, or whatever” but you'd be stable for a couple years, start getting your life back and then BAM you can't pay the 100 dollar weekly fee, and the clinic cuts you off and HELL descends once again, and everything goes to shit… In 2015 I shot myself in the chest, 100% ready and expecting to die… I wasn't going to do it anymore, couldn't do it anymore… My neighbor heard the gunshot and came into my apartment, did CPR and all that and I was taken to hospital, put in medical coma for 11 days, woke up shocked to be alive and my sister comes to my hospital room and says do you want to move to England and stay with mom? ”who I hadn't seen or spoken to since I was a little kid" but where treatment and methadone is completely free, shit, everything regarding threatment over here is LIGHTYEARS ahead of the US… Since I have spent years in there and now 3 years here, the difference is SAD… For all those poor souls back home who don't have the same opportunity I was given… Even with this raging epidemic, I KNOW America won't help its people the way it's desperately needed… Pigs will fly before treatment is given freely and made available at pharmacies

  2. The thing that people ignore about opiates is that the vast majority of issues occur by combining with a benzodiazepine or alcohol. Opiates themselves have much higher toxicity rate taken alone than with another sedative. Drug companies that combine them with otc pain relievers only add to this problem.

  3. just take ibuprofen. I've had a compound fractured arm and my wisdom teeth out it cant be too bad just taking ibuprofen. I mean my mom and oldest brother had their lives ruined by opiods.

  4. And the criminals will move on,,People like me that has been injured,,Like my neck broke-my back broke-seven surgeries,,6 heart attacks..3 stroke's..So you think just live with the pain? Maybe nothing will happen to you? Or maybe a load of SREEL will fall you Crush you like me?? ASS HOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. America before this problem is solved . you are going to have to endure the pain but please think very hard do not take up heroin if you do your life will be destroyed forever take heed my friends

  6. I think more adults are using is because of the timing. In the 70's it was psychedelics, 80's cocaine, 90's and 2000's ecstacy, and now kids and young adults are stupid and doing them at a young age. I don't even know how they are getting them b/c that crap wasn't around when I was a kid. It's probably our own government.

  7. I lot of misinfo. People prescribed pain meds FOR pain don't get "high" and don't "up" their doses. They find the proper med or combo (best tolerated and works well) and stay at that dose for years or decades without needing anything to change. They do not go from Doctor to Doctor, or steal and have never abused in the past are not going to the streets. Not unless their cowardly Doctor cuts them off and they've gone through withdrawals but their chronic pain they suffered from in the first place is still there, then maybe. It's that or suicide b/c they've lost all quality of life.

  8. They don't say if it's prescriptions per month or per year? I'm telling ya, a lot of this is propaganda being used to justify more abuses by the officials. Look at the raw data, see and read everything you can on this, look at the history of laws and how they relate to Congress and the DEA, and this is not what it seems! Now that it's moved into the white population too and all classes of people, they will start using that BS legal thievery to frame people they don't like and take all they have, like many Docs who were arrested for treating pain. Government SHOULD NOT get involved between patient and Doctor b/c pain control is NOT one size fits all!

  9. So, please tell me WHY they are targeting chronic pain patients who have NO record of abuse and follow ALL the rules!? They are creating more heroin users by cutting off these patients! People who never have abused drugs and whom never would have gone to look for illicit substances are being forced to do so. I never thought chronic pain patients would have to go to the streets for pain relief rather than suicide, but this is EXACTLY what is happening! Just look at the data of those who died.

    We NEED people to fight for those of us who are now in so much pain and bedridden! We were given back a quality of life in the late 90's with these meds, and now that's been taken away. We patients all burned out and have been fighting with insurance companies, jumping through hoops and dealing with arrogant Doctors for DECADES! Please help us to stop this nonsense. It's as if this was ALL by design, and that it's being used to get rid of old people, people on disability and patients who use a lot of medical resources, which I do not, but am being hurt by these "policies," not LAWS!

    SOMEONE at the CDC, FDA and DEA PLEASE inform all pain clinics and Drs that it's OK to provide pain relief and to stop cutting off patients who need it. If Dr's are THAT worried, have patients sign a paper saying their family will not and can not sue them if the patient happens to die with meds in their system. It should be the patients choice!

    Also, beware, Amazon, Warren Buffet and JP Morgan are set to privatize Medicare/Medicaid and are going to try to steal it! they are making a "non-profit" are using the same talking points as the "Medicare for ALL" movement is making. "we can negotiate prices and cut out the middlemen." That's what Medicare and the VA already do! This is TOTAL BS and privatization leads to monopoly, which leads to safety cuts and problems, transparency, forced arbitration so as to deny recourse for medical malpractice victims, discrimination, and far worse!

  10. Aww…poor white people.
    Maybe politicians should simply make opioids illegal, just like weed.
    Then, create a new profile for the resulting lawless low-life "junkie" — white, middle-aged, well-dressed….
    Then, cops can simply turn up and shoot them.


  12. I read an interesting article on Linkedin that talked about how the heroin problem is so bad that it is driving some companies to automation in areas they didn't even want to because they can't get enough employees who pass drug tests.

  13. this is so extremely disturbing and tragic the enormous loss of life caused by opiods  and other prescription pills that either need to be taken and people get hooked or in so many cases don't need t be taken but people take them to get high the loss of life caused by this and by people killed as well as the injuries accidents and danger facing so many motorists by people riving on opiods or other prescription pills is extremely high destructive and tragic so much more and better must be done to prevent this insanity. I'm outraged by how little and innefectively when so much more and better should have been done over 20 years ago to stop these horrible tragedies proactively I urge many to get iv

  14. sooooo heroin was discovered was first synthesized in 1874, we knew about the effects of morphine and codeine prior to this as well, yet big pharma didnt look at that and say, well you know what this shit is strong enough as it is naturally as an opiate. nope, they wanted to make it stronger,. more powerful more addictive matter of fact let's isolate the strongest fucking alkaloid we find in the plant, and multiply the amount of diamorphine we originally got from the poppy latex by 100x so that the diamorphine gets metabolized into morphine. We can get them double addicted. wait hold on, then after that we can make an even more addicting syntyetic opiods like methadone and suboxone so we can "help" everyone we fucked up because of our greed. but will they buy into tge same bs twice? when we got them hooked on morphine, heroin was supposed to be the safer alternative and supposed to help relieve withdrawals caused by morphine. hence the name heroin. Yeah, I'm pretty sure they're stupid enough to buy into it as long as we make it sound like something completely different. we'll be alright

  15. opioids don't work for chronic pain!! study after study after study shows this. we need to get these low life drug addicts off the drugs by stop prescribing any to them and stop giving the junkies narcotics in the ER!!

  16. here's a bigger problem, our authorities lock up users. they've waged war on drugs and whoever uses them. they act like they care so much but they capitalize on those poor souls. these people need serious help not prison time.

  17. Personally, I would have NO quality of life without my opioids. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome with a bunch of co-morbid conditions and rely on Norspan (buprenorphine) patches for my all-the-time, never-goes-away pain (which reduces, but doesn't come close to eliminating it) and oxycodone for my breakthrough pain (again, this reduces my pain, but doesn't eliminate it). My doctors started encouraging me to start opioid therapies when I was 17, but I held off as long as I could, until I was 24 and rendered largely bedridden by my pain and other symptoms. The right pain management strategies (of which opioids are only one small part) have enabled me to study Human Genetics at university and actually leave my apartment for fun reasons, instead of just doctor appointments and emergency department visits for dislocations, fractures and serious infections. The idea of having my opioids taken away, forcing me back to my previous bedridden "life" absolutely terrifies me. I'd lose everything I've worked SO HARD for.

    My point is that although opioids are over-prescribed in general, for many of us, they are an absolutely necessary part of our broader pain management. It is crucial for any strategies that aim to reduce opioid abuse to prevent collateral harm to those of us who genuinely need these medications. I've lost more than one chronic pain patient friend to suicide because some MORON of a doctor decided they "shouldn't" be on opioids and blocked their access to adequate medication. Living with severe chronic pain is only possible in the longterm with the right management plans and those do tend to require opioids, whether we like it or not.

    If a plan to combat abuse involves making it even harder for those of us with severe chronic pain to access adequate opioid therapies, then that plan is going to kill a significant percentage of us.

    Ultimately, what we need is a better alternative to opioids for managing chronic pain.

  18. I wonder if this has anything to do with the war on terror. Didn't the Russians also experience this problem after invading Afghanistan? Americans are getting the dope, the chinese are getting the rare earth metals, islamic warlords are getting the cash.

  19. Lump in drug addicts in heroin with scrip drugs,and walla big deaths so no one needs any now ,no matter the pain as those 20 year olds eating and snorting oxy like MMS are the only victims,tell those old veterans to do some yoga.

  20. I didn’t realize that opioid addiction was such an epidemic. The statistics that Dr. Carroll gave were truly shocking I feel as though it would be ethical to give prescribers guidelines as how best to avoid opioid addiction developing in their patients. For example, they should initially try weaker painkillers, such as ibuprofen, or other pain management techniques and only move up to opioids when a patient claims the safer drug is no longer working. They should also really monitor how quickly a patient is using their prescription drugs, and if they are seeing any other providers, to guard against patients who are using their prescription illicitly. Prescribers should also have an informative chat with all their patients that they prescribe opioids to, about how addictive they can be, and to only use them when you are actually feeling pain. I remember I was prescribed a strong painkiller when I had my wisdom teeth out, and no one ever discussed with me how dangerous this medication could be – honestly, I don’t think my mouth hurt badly enough to qualify the quantity of intense painkillers that they gave. I believe in this case, the doctor’s duty to benevolence and nonmaleficence outweighs a patient’s right to have input on what sort of medication they receive. With an addiction epidemic like the one Dr. Carroll showed statistics on in his video, we really need to be more cautious when handing out controlled substances like opioids, because doing it too often or without proper warning could greatly alter a patient’s life.

  21. Thank you for covering this topic. Opioid and Heroin abuse in my community is becoming an epidemic as well. The statistics are shocking and it's alarming to learn that in 2013, more than 10,000 Americans died of Heroin overdoses and 19,000 because of Opioid overdose. I'm sure the numbers for 2016 have increased ever more. Because opioids not only help to relieve pain, but produce feelings of pleasure, people who are prescribed them can easily and quickly become addicted. I think prescribing opioids is something doctors should be very cautious about, however I understand that while there are those who abuse these drugs, there are also many individuals who need them and can have a better quality of life while taking opioids that relieve their pain. For this reason, it is often times hard to distinguish between those who really need the drugs and those who are likely to abuse them. Because pain is subjective and doctors can not adequately measure the amount of pain that someone is experiencing, therefore it is difficult to decide who needs them and who doesn't. I hope that in the future there is a way to restrict these addictive drugs further and to overcome the epidemic that our country is facing due to overdoses.

  22. Thanks scum. Your spreading a message that is harming legitimate pain patients. Chronic pain patients have a very low overdose rate and abuse rate of their meds. These propaganda spreading trouble makers should be sued.

  23. What I'd like to see though is tackling this problem WITHOUT treating chronic pain sufferers like junkies. This is a huge problem for someone who's already suffering from depression from being in pain all the time, to be looked down upon just because they are using their medications responsibly to manage it, or even worse, when some cowboy doctor decides to just take someone off their pain meds completely and ignore treatment history that led to those prescriptions in the first place.

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