How much money do the drug companies make from the addictive prescription pain pill OxyContin? The amount would surprise many people. Even though prescription pain medicines help people, abuse of prescription pain medication is a growing problem, as statistics show an increase in the misuse of prescription opioids (Byrne, Lander, & Ferris, 2009). Many people are becoming addicted to these opioids, and the addiction is destroying lives. Their addictions are not only affecting the people who take them but also the families of the people who are addicted.
Long-term opioid use poses many risks to people. In recent years, pain pill abuse has sky rocketed. The number of people who abuse opioids has quadrupled from 1990 to 2000, with this outrageous spike in use, the overall cost of prescription opioid use in the U.S. is estimated to be around $9.5 billion (Byrne, Lander, & Ferris, 2009). The graphs below shows the annual U.S. retail sales of one opioid, Oxycontin, and the reported use of prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes. Rather outstanding to see the amount of money that is being spent on these dangerous drugs. Figure 1. Annual U.S. retail sales of Oxycontin (Public Citizen, 2010).
Figure 2. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (prescription-drug-abuse.org, 2009).
Prescription drug abuse is not only a growing health problem, it is also a hot topic today in the United States. A red flag has gone up due to the risks involved with addiction. When people take these drugs as prescribed they help them with aliments, such as, chronic pain. But when misused the pills can become very addicting. Reports state twenty percent of Americans use prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. The graph illustrated above in Figure 2 shows that more than 6.3 million Americans reported current use of prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes. In a...