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Are Pharmaceutical Companies To Blame for Painkiller Addictions?

Painkiller addictions are racking up immense consequences in the US and are rapidly becoming a big problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse roughly 52 million people in the United States over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs for various non-medical reasons in their lifetime. With numbers such as this, the question must be asked if whether or not pharmaceutical companies are to blame for the increased addiction rates.

Pharmaceutical Industry

In the past, medicine came primarily from nature. Over the last 100 years or so, scientists and researchers started isolating the unique chemical compounds traditionally found in various plants and herbs. Thus, the pharmaceutical industry was born. It is thriving today and there seems to be a seemingly endless supply of drugs to go around. In 2010, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed to medicate every American adult every 4 hours for 1 month.

Why Use Prescription Painkillers?

The top 5 reasons people use prescription painkillers as reported by the PATS Attitude Tracking Study in 2005 are the following:

  • Easy to get from parents’ medicine cabinet
  • Available everywhere
  • Not illegal drugs
  • They are cheap
  • Safer to use than illegal drugs

It’s interesting to see that many people view prescription drugs as safer than illegal drugs despite the fact that there has been a 400% increase in deaths from painkiller overdose among women since 1999 and a 265% increase among men, which doesn’t really come as much of a surprise when most people report that painkillers are cheap, easy to find, and are available pretty much anywhere.

There are plenty of organizations and institutions that have been dedicated to preventing and fighting painkiller addiction. However, the epidemic hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. In a recent Vice News article Arielle Pardes reports, “In California, a lawsuit is underway alleging that pharmaceutical companies profit from doctors overprescribing opioids. Specifically, the suit alleges that in 2010, the sale of prescription opioids generated $8 billion in revenues for pharmaceutical companies.”

The article goes on to state that prescription opiates generated $8 billion in revenues for pharmaceutical companies in 2010. A study also revealed that the amount of prescriptions written for opiates nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010. With the increase in deaths as well as an increase in distribution happening simultaneously, it’s no wonder why the problem is only getting worse.

Who Is To Blame?

It’s easy to blame the big pharma companies because they seem to be profiting the most from the current painkiller crisis. However, there are many other critical players involved in this dilemma. The doctors who prescribe painkillers for extra cash, the parents who don’t educate their kids or hide their prescriptions, and the people who illegally provide the drugs to others all share part of the blame for painkiller addictions.

For those who are currently facing addiction and are desperately seeking long-term recovery, it’s highly recommended to receive inpatient treatment. There are plenty of benefits ranging from detox to medical supervision, exercise, diet changes, and inpatients typically stay in beautiful private settings. Call to receive help for painkiller addiction and reclaim your life.


  • Angie

    I had no idea that painkiller addiction was so prevalent, but it does make sense, as painkillers are much easier to get your hands on than any other illegal drug. After all, all you have to do is go to a doctor and say you have some sort of pain, and they are more than happy to write you a prescription. They also can’t say if the pain is real or imagined, they just have to assume you are telling the truth about your pain, and give you something to help you deal with it. That is a terrible fact. However, there are ways to help deal with an addiction to painkillers, and to help you with pain management if you were actually taking them for pain in the first place. NO matter what is happening, you can get help for it.

  • Jim

    Prescribed painkillers are becoming a huge problem here in rural America. The use of painkillers is becoming a gateway to heroin, especially since the street value of pain killers is higher than that of heroin. The poverty of many rural community only fuels it more.

  • Johanson Connor

    really helpful article, I think its all true here, thanks for posting it!

  • Ian

    I certainly agree that blame falls on many parties. However, pharmaceutical companies can take some of their profits to help rehabilitation clinics and to raise awareness concerning painkiller addiction. That is what can be done from them to help remove some of their blame. All other critical players have to be addressed in other suitable ways.

  • Adam

    Drug companies share a lot of the blame but not all. Especially here in the USA where they market directly to the consumer all day long, and doctors constantly have drug reps bringing them fast food to try and get them to prescribe their drugs more often. We are far from an ideal healthcare system here.

  • krupali

    it was great informative kind of a thing.really helpful article, I think its all true here, thanks for posting it!

  • laura m.

    I have 2 family members who got hooked on these drugs.So, I know it happens.

  • Tarae

    Pharmaceutical companies should promote natural pain relievers.

  • David Skagerberg

    I am a big proponent of medical and recreation cannabis use. The are so many medical benifits that cannabis provides, yet we still can’t get in legalized nation wide. The was study done recently that show states with legalized medical cannabis had a 25 percent drop in deaths caused by prescription pain killer.

    Also recently, the FDA just approved the use of Oxycontin for children as young as 11 years old. Now we are going to have an even younger generation of Americans that are going to be addicted a legal equivalent to heroin. All because Purdue Pharma lobbied the FDA to widen their market shares and enlarge their already swollen bank accounts.

  • James Tolley

    Drug companies are not to blame, but the Doctors prescribing them need to be regulated more than they are.

  • Regina M

    Pharmaceuticals definitely make a disgusting amount of money and they won’t stop pushing the doctors to prescribe them. The doctors get rewarded for writing prescriptions with gifts, travels, probably straight money as well. Everybody wins, except from the patient. They won’t stop doing this just because the regulations will be stricter, because they will always find a way plus the regulations won’t get more strict really because they have a gigantic lobbying budget to pressure the lawmakers to give them the green light. So it comes down to the individual responsibility of the patients. Don’t turn to drugs because you have a mild pain; even if you have bad pain, try alternative routes such as a chiropractor or exercise; and, above all, don’t let your kids take them!!!

  • Diane Colon

    It’s sad to hear that there are so many people suffering from continued use of pain killers. It’s hard when you become injured and you need the immediate help to get through what you are experiencing but then there is no one there later on to help you get off. It is a good thing that places exist that people can go to to help get the drugs out of their system so they can get back to having a better quality of life.

  • Jonathan

    It is easy to blame pharamcuetical companies entirely for the problem. This is true that if they did not produce them then no one would be able to purchase them, in erfect world this would be so.
    Yes as Tarae said, they should make natural pain relievers but the truth of the mater is that natural pain killers have to be grown and taken care of. But your artificial painkillers that they are selling can be much more potent, instantly manufuactured and at a fraction of the coast.
    The solution is to do what best drug rehabilitation is doing and informing everyone of what the true data is. As I am sure, each of you reading this article will think twice when purchasing a perscription painkiller.
    This was good information to have as it made me more knowledgeable and have specific statistics. The solution is just to get people on a cause point of what they are taking as I can guarantee that many people don’t know all of the effects.

  • Amanda

    I believe that drug companies are to blame, but not all the blame. People do not have to use or buy prescriptions if they choose not to. I am not staying that people should not take the medication that they need, but I am saying they do have that choice. Also being responsible so that your prescription drugs do not get into the wrong hands at the wrong time. But creating such a power drug and not fully taking responsibility I believe is another view point. You cannot expect to put something so power and not create powerful effects.

  • Walter

    I am of the mind to conclude that the responsibility is shared by everyone. Every single person that is living on this planet has something to do with it. From demanding some more action be done to stop to epidemic, to the drug companies not getting paid extra money for these drugs. Also, for not paying doctors extra money to prescribe the drugs. That basically to me means that the doctors are basically being pushers. I feel that we as a general public have the responsibility that we have not stood up and put a stop to this. Of course there are times when using a painkiller is needed. I have been through surgery, and I have also needed them for other injuries, or situations, but this does not excuse the fact that if these types of drugs were not so prevalent with incentives to give them out, then I feel we would not have the problem that we have today.

    To hang all of the blame on one party is just as irresponsible as giving the drugs out for an extra buck. But if we were to all gather together and push for something effective to be done, then I feel that there would be not near the problem that we currently have.

    Also, if you are a person who has been given these drugs and you no longer need them, destroy them in a way that will not affect those around you, do not give them out, do not flush them, but get them out of circulation and I feel the problem would diminish.

  • Claudette

    Doctors need to more carefully monitor patients to whom they’ve prescribed pain meds.

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