According to CDC, the number of people visiting emergency rooms in the last 5 years, to either abuse or misuse prescription painkillers, has increased to nearly half a million! This is a startling figure that requires absolute attention of the authorities. The misuse of prescription drugs is nothing new. In the recent past, there have been many cases of deaths caused due to prescription drug abuse. What usually happens is that people treating themselves for pain end up taking painkillers more frequently than prescribed. This in turn leads to addiction and has to be therefore treated. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly abused painkillers:
It is the most common source for many painkillers. In fact historically, it was used as medicinal drug known as laudanum.
This is a painkiller that is derived from opium. People either ingest it or inject it.
Again sourced from opium, morphine’s brand names are Roxanol and Duramorph.
A synthetic opioid, hydrocodone is usually used with acetaminophen (Tylenol). Some of its brand names are Vicodin, Lortab and Lorcet.
It is another synthetic opioid that is usually crushed and snorted. It is sold under the brand names: Tylox, Percodan, OxyContin and Percocet.
Apart from these, there are other equally addictive painkillers being sold on the market. There is a definite need to come out with some concrete solutions that stop this dependency on pain alleviating drugs.
Recently a 17 year old high school senior from Portland, Oregon, Raghav Tripathi, has made some brilliant contributions in this field. His research to find a non-addictive painkiller which has landed him among the six national finalists of a major science competition. He has investigated a compound named anandamide which naturally slows the pain in the body. According to Raghav, the harm caused by addictive painkillers can be reduced by increasing the levels of anandamide in the body. His research has the potential of benefitting over 50 million individuals in the country who are suffering from continuous pain.
Raghav’s breakthroughs can go a long way in making a positive impact on the society. In fact, the contributions of the scientific community at large to find non-addictive painkillers can help save the lives of so many out there. One can only keep their fingers crossed and hope to see some significant developments being made in this domain.