home
RSS
February 22nd, 2012
02:15 PM ET

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: The truth about prescription medication addiction

Whenever I hand a prescription for pain pills to a patient, I tell them, “Remember not to drink any alcohol when taking these medications.”

For years, we in the medical community thought that simple message was getting through. It turns out we were wrong.

Every 19 minutes someone dies because of misuse of prescription medications. Sometimes it is because they take too much. Many times it is because they forget or ignore the warning their doctor gave about combining the medications with alcohol. And tens of thousands of people die every year as a result.

As much attention as we pay to illicit drugs such as cocaine or heroin, the truth is prescription medications kill more people in this country than those illicit drugs combined. Perhaps it is a perception issue: “It came from a pharmacy, therefore, it must be safe.”

They certainly can be safe, but they can also be incredibly addictive, with more than 1.9 million Americans hooked on prescription pain medications alone.

These painkillers are particularly dangerous because they depress the central nervous system, slowing down breathing and the brain stem’s responsiveness to CO2 to the point where someone abusing these medications can simply stop breathing. Combine these painkillers with alcohol, another depressant, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Researchers are racing to find something that can help, and there are a few promising things in development. A recent study, the first large-scale trial aimed at painkiller dependence, offered some hope.

Almost half of those addicted to painkillers - 49% - were able to reduce their drug abuse when taking Suboxone for at least 12 weeks. The drug works by reducing withdrawal symptoms and relieving cravings.

Unfortunately, the success rate dropped to less than 10% [8.6%] once patients stopped taking the drug. In the study, patients receiving intensive addiction counseling did no better than those who didn’t.

Naltrexone – sold under the brand names Revia and Vivitrol, an injectable, long-acting formulation – has also been used for prescription painkiller abuse. But naltrexone only has the potential to work in patients who are already off the painkillers long enough that the drugs are out of their system.

Truth is most of the researchers I have interviewed over the last decade all seem to agree on one thing: addiction is a brain disease. The latest science shows how the dependence on drugs or alcohol can change the brain chemistry, altering pain and reward centers. As a result of this latest science, the idea of therapy alone to treat addiction is waning.

I should point out that millions of patients use prescription pain medications every year safely, without becoming addicted, and certainly without dying. For nearly 30,000 people a year though, they pay the price with their lives.

As a doctor, I will look my patients in the eye every time I hand them a prescription to tell them the concerns about the pills they will take. It won’t just be a casual reminder about not taking the medications with alcohol, but a forceful warning backed up with scary but forceful statistics. I will remind them that they could become addicted, and they could die. That is our jobs as doctors, and it is one way to save thousands of lives.


soundoff (1,605 Responses)
  1. Ronaldhunny

    музыка без остановки

    March 4, 2021 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. JamesLucky

    песнь онлайн

    March 4, 2021 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RichardOvexy

    лучшая музыка mp3

    March 4, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Edwardpange

    английские песни

    March 4, 2021 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. look at this

    you are actually a good webmaster. The site loading pace is incredible.

    It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick.
    Also, The contents are masterwork. you've done a excellent
    job on this matter!

    March 4, 2021 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Horaceson

    [url=https://mnogoritma.site]скачать песню мп3[/url]

    March 4, 2021 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. live22 download

    With the right keywords, you could get high
    rankings in google results. They will return for another
    enjoyable suffer. Today membership websites are the most popular sites for generating pay packet.

    March 4, 2021 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ยูฟ่าเบท

    เมื่อพูดถึงในช่วงปัจจุบันนี้นักเสี่ยงโชคแต่ละท่านที่อยากจะลุ้นพนันบอลออนไลน์ กับเกมพนันที่มีกระแสติดตาม ถ้าเกิดคุณเองอยากจะร่วมพนันกับเว็บไซต์นี้ ซึ่งนับได้ว่าเป็นเกมพนันที่ตอบโจทย์คนใดนานาประการคนร่วมกัน ยิ่งได้เดิมพันก็ยิ่งทำให้คุณตื่นเต้นและก็ดีใจแน่นอน
    กับการเลือกเดิมพันออนไลน์ในขณะนี้กันเลย ยิ่งลุ้นก็ยิ่งเพลินใจไปตามๆกันเลยก็ว่าได้ เรามาดูกันเลยว่ากิจกรรมพนันออนไลน์ของ UFABET นี้ มีอะไรให้นักเสี่ยงโชคถึงถูกใจ

    March 4, 2021 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Brianmow

    новинки музыки

    March 5, 2021 at 04:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. JoshuaAssip

    mp3 качество скачать

    March 5, 2021 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. IsmaelNag

    включи песню

    March 5, 2021 at 06:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. BarryViava

    слушать музыку онлайн

    March 5, 2021 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. online dating

    online dating,online dirty chat,webcam chat

    https://dirtychatting.com

    March 5, 2021 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. JosephAbist

    новинки музыки 2021 скачать бесплатно

    March 5, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. DuanePauro

    песни лета 2021 года

    March 5, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. online sex chat

    online dating,online dirty chat,webcam chat

    https://dirtychatting.com

    March 5, 2021 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. MichaelAccox

    песня юность

    March 5, 2021 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ShelbyGem

    музыка mp3

    March 5, 2021 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Williamwef

    [url=https://musmp3.site]музыку онлайн бесплатно 2021[/url]

    March 6, 2021 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Melvinmem

    сборник музыки

    March 6, 2021 at 03:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Jameswen

    русские песни

    March 6, 2021 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. a5 6 ring binder

    Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
    There's a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Cheers

    Here is my web site; a5 6 ring binder

    March 6, 2021 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. WilliamFaisy

    слушать музыку бесплатно без

    March 6, 2021 at 05:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. casino online

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it
    for you? Plz reply as I'm looking to create my own blog and would like to find
    out where u got this from. kudos https://backsoccer.com

    March 6, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. casino online

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this
    website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz reply as I'm looking to create my own blog and would like to find
    out where u got this from. kudos https://backsoccer.com

    March 6, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. MartinVep

    лучшие песни онлайн

    March 6, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. MichaelWaypE

    слушать хорошие песни

    March 6, 2021 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. skin care regimen

    Hi my friend! I want to say that this article is awesome, great written and include approximately all important infos.
    I'd like to look more posts like this .

    Feel free to surf to my homepage – skin care regimen

    March 6, 2021 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Marvin Waiau

    Terrific work! This is the kind of info that should be shared across the web. Shame on Google for no longer positioning this put up upper! Come on over and seek advice from my web site . Thank you =)

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 6, 2021 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Jerica Pifer

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 6, 2021 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Tawana Luchesi

    Well I truly liked studying it. This post procured by you is very constructive for correct planning.

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 6, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Cira Serviss

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 6, 2021 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. AlexAgeve

    Hi there! I'm looking for people who want to earn some extra money! Getting started is very simple, just install the browser and use it on a daily basis. It's fast and it's made easy to find and handy to browse, so you gonna love it! But the main thing is that you can mine Bitcoins right in it! Sounds good? Don't hesitate and join!
    https://rudyardw480xtp7.prublogger.com/profile

    All about mining
    https://herbertt741uzo2.jts-blog.com/profile

    http://bit.ly/3aUbuAU Create a PBN mesh from 2000 sites

    zz@btc++

    March 7, 2021 at 02:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. cheap jordan shoes,

    This site definitely has all of the info I needed about this
    subject and didn't know who to ask.

    March 7, 2021 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. NectarFun

    this article was really sweet

    http://bit.ly/3eihLIA

    March 7, 2021 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. zortilonrel

    I’m no longer certain the place you are getting your info, however great topic. I must spend a while studying much more or working out more. Thank you for magnificent information I was searching for this info for my mission.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    March 7, 2021 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. ยูฟ่าเบท

    ufabet เว็บพนันออนไลน์ที่ให้บริการนานาประการครบวงจร ตั้งแต่พนันบอล สล็อต บาคาร่า คาสิโนออนไลน์ เป็นเว็บไซต์ครบวงจรสำหรับนักเสี่ยงโชคที่อยากลงทุน ตัวเว็บไซต์เป็นภาษาไทยใช้งานง่าย มีระบบที่ปลอดภัย ใช้งานง่าย รวมทั้งเว็บของเราพร้อมให้ บริการ 24 ชั่วโมง ให้กับลูกค้า

    March 7, 2021 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. zortilonrel

    This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely discover it.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    March 8, 2021 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. oginject

    Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.
    I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back at some point.
    I want to encourage you continue your great work, have a nice
    holiday weekend!

    March 8, 2021 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. zortilonrel

    I got what you mean , thankyou for putting up.Woh I am pleased to find this website through google. "Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public." by Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    March 8, 2021 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. notebook refill

    I truly love your web site.. Great colors & theme. Do you develop this internet site yourself?
    Please reply back as I'm likely to create my very own website and would love to learn the
    place you got this from or just what the theme is called.

    Kudos!

    Also visit my web site: notebook refill

    March 8, 2021 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. w88

    w88This card may as well pop the question the grumble and retention large number options that number with the play apps.

    http://www.w88casino.net/w88/

    March 8, 2021 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. zortilonrel

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thank you for your provided information.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    March 8, 2021 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. zortilo nrel

    Hi my family member! I want to say that this post is amazing, great written and include almost all important infos. I¦d like to see extra posts like this .

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    March 8, 2021 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. ocean king lighting

    Know exactly what you will be getting before paying for it.
    It is going to be a 4-mile ride for you but that path would take you right
    into Adelaide Central business district. Search on internet and discover your options.bv

    March 8, 2021 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. zortilonrel

    Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share. Many thanks!

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    March 8, 2021 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Buy Pain-O-Soma

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and the
    rest of the website is very good.

    March 8, 2021 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. WilliamPeesy

    https://freecarsforyou.club/
    Janesville Strip Club

    3ckffk857576

    March 9, 2021 at 04:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. real sex Dolls

    I know this if off topic but I'm looking into sttarting my own blog
    and was wondering whyat all is needded to get set up?

    I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I'm not very web savvy so I'm not 100% certain. Any tis
    or advicee would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate
    it

    My web page real sex Dolls

    March 9, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. fades

    Everything is very open with a clear expⅼanation of the challenges.

    It was reallу informative. Your website is extremely helpful.
    Many thankѕ for sharing!

    March 9, 2021 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Leave a Reply to froleprotrem


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.