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Opioid Dependence an Equal Opportunity Disease

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“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.”

Heath Ledger.

Brittany Murphy.

Anna Nicole Smith.

Judy Garland.

Marilyn Monroe.

Celebrities whose death all grabbed headlines when they died from prescription pain medicine.

It’s not just celebrities, people out of the spotlight also grapple with painkiller addiction.

In fact, it’s a growing epidemic in America.

Opioid Dependence an Equal Opportunity Disease

Prescription painkiller addiction, also known as opioid dependence doesn’t take into account, age, religion, gender, race or financial status.

It’s an equal opportunity disease.

A disease that today affects millions of Americans.

Doctor’s prescribed painkillers because they are an effective medicine.

Dependence can develop as an unexpected consequence of proper treatment.

The brain’s chemistry is altered by opioid prescription painkillers to where one begins to feel they need the prescription painkiller to get through the day.

Fact: Opioid Dependence Affects Approximately 2-Million Americans

Opioid Dependence costs the US $193 Billion Per Year

68% of adults and 87% of doctors are aware millions of Americans are affected by opioid dependence

76% of adults and 96% of physicians are aware painkiller misuse/abuse poses a significant burden on the U.S. healthcare system

67% of adults and 35% of physicians say they do not know much about opioid dependence

44% of adults and 92% of doctors associate OD with addiction to prescription painkillers, and 55% of adults and 69% of doctors associate OD with addiction to heroin.

Of note, 11% of adults and 3% of physicians believe OD refers to addiction of any drug

87% of adults and 97% of doctors agree dependence can happen unexpectedly as a consequence of proper pain treatment

93% of adults and 97% of doctors agree that opioid dependence can impact people from all walks of life

Opioid Dependence is a Real Chronic Condition

Perhaps it’s the movies that have so many mistaking opioid dependence as merely bad behavior.

Prescription painkiller addiction has been proven to be a chronic medical condition.

It can happen to anyone who goes beyond the prescribed dose of painkiller medication.

It becomes, for some, a hidden struggle as they live in fear of their addiction being misunderstood.

Opioid Dependence

FACT: Opioid Dependence Is a Chronic Medical Disease

It affects the brain and fools it into thinking the opioid is necessary for survival

88% of doctors recognize addiction as a disease, only 59% of adults believe that addiction is a disease

25% of adults and 59% of doctors say OD is a chronic brain disease; 45% of adults and 30% of doctors view OD as more of a psychological problem (e.g., lifestyle choice) rather than a physical illness (e.g., chronic disease); and 68% of adults and 80% of doctors agree OD represents a mental health problem

75% of adults and 85% of doctors agree people living with OD cannot stop on their own 92% of adults and 98% of doctors say OD is treatable

Opioid Dependence is a Disease that can be Managed

By assisting loved ones in recognizing the signs and symptoms and guiding those struggling to helpful resources, as a community, we can spread greater awareness on the topic of opioid dependence. is an online resource that allows people to research anonymously opioid dependence, find help and treatment options.

FACT: Research Shows Treatment Can Benefit From a Combination of Medication and Behavioral Changes

67% of adults and 65% of doctors believe OD can be cured

56% of adults and 69% of physicians believe the vast majority living with OD will experience a relapse

61% of adults and only 40% of doctors say treatment for OD is readily available

Only about 35% of adults who are aware and 21% of doctors believe a stay at a rehabilitation clinic is very effective

Only 44% of adults are aware of obtaining prescription medication from a doctor as a treatment option for OD

58% of adults and 73% of doctors strongly support the use of prescription medication to treat OD

Opioid Dependence Has Affected My Life

I have witnessed loved ones who have had an opioid dependence.

One was public knowledge.

That dependence had other addictions associated with it that eventually claimed their life.

The other experience was not well known.

In fact, I lived in the same home with the person and had no idea it was happening.

Upon the revelation, I remember their saying, “I did it in front of you, in front of my boss, our friends. No one asked any questions. It was easy. It was like taking an aspirin.”

If you have experienced prescription painkiller addiction, know someone who has, or feel passionate about this topic, please take a moment to help spread awareness and share or review the resources that can help.

Opioid Dependence Infographic


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Pam Hoffman

Sunday 13th of October 2013

It's possible to get off this stuff. I was on it for 3 months due to back surgery. It's taken me about a month to cut my doses down by cutting my pills in half for a week, then in half again for a week, then in half again for a week until you are off. Challenging, but worth it!!!

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