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Doctors Get Paid to Prescribe More Opioids

Monday, May 14, 2018 13:55
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May 15th, 2018

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50, killing more than 42,000 Americans a year. But despite widespread discussion about the dangers of opioids, doctors are still over-prescribing these drugs — and one of the reasons appears to be drug makers paying financial incentives to doctors who prescribe them.

Opioid addiction is at an all-time high in the U.S. — so much so, it’s been identified as a significant factor in unemployment among men,1 and opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.2 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the more than 63,600 Americans who died from drug overdoses in 2016,3,4 more than 42,000 were related specifically to opioids5 — a 28 percent jump in opioid deaths from the year before.

As if that’s not disturbing enough, recent research6 suggests opioid overdose deaths are being undercounted by 20 to 35 percent, due to drug omissions on death certificates.7 In many cases, the specific drug that contributed to the death isn’t listed on the death certificate, and it’s quite likely that many of the general “drug deaths” are actually due to opioids specifically. According to this paper, a more accurate count would probably put the opioid-related death toll at nearly 40,000 for 2015 and closer to 50,000 for 2016.

The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths are methadone, oxycodone (such as OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®),8 and evidence suggests opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, knew exactly what they were doing when they claimed opioids — which are chemically very similar to heroin — have an exceptionally low addiction rate when taken by people with pain.

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