In a recent article on About Pain News, it was reported that opioid painkiller overdoses in the USA have lept to an all time high.
According to the data referenced in this article - there is a worrying trend of Australia following suit. Last year in the USA over 18,000 people fatally overdosed on prescription narcotic painkillers, as stated in the National Centre for Health Statistics report. This is higher than the national average reported between 2010 - 2013 of 16,453 annually.
Dr Ben Teoh, Medical Superintendent at South Pacific Private, a leading mental health and addiction treatment centre in Sydney, says this is due mainly to an increase in the number of opiates now being prescribed by medical professionals. “When people use opiates they have a high risk of using too much – and overdosing is a major risk for opiate users,” Dr Teoh says. “At South Pacific Private we have noticed a significant increase in the number of people addicted to prescribed opiates.”
Dr Teoh says opiates can be very effective in treating pain – if used properly.