The Upshot - Dealing With Opioid Abuse Would Pay for Itself


Once championed as the answer to chronic pain, opioid medications and painkillers have become a large and costly problem in the United States. Fatal overdoses have quadrupled in the last 15 years, and opioids now cause more deaths than any other drug, over 16,000 in 2010. Prescription opioid abuse is also costly, sapping productivity and increasing health care and criminal justice costs to the tune of $55.7 billion in 2007, for example.

Addressing this problem would cost money, too, but evidence suggests it would pay for itself.

Much of the problematic use of opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin originates with a prescription to treat pain. Prescriptions can be of tremendous help to certain patients. But doctors write a lot more of them for opioids in the United States than they should, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of opiate painkillers each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Doctor shopping is a problem since the health care system is so scattered… I had a girlfriend who would go to many different doctors in outlaying cities and get several different prescriptions for OxyContin and Vicodin. Since it was all different counties… as were the pharmacist… she got 5 bottles once.

I think things have been put in place to keep that from happening more often. But if someone is going to abuse the system… then they are going to abuse the system.


I’ve been on Tramadol for about 3 weeks now. My doc just gave me a script for 3 months worth at double the dose I have been taking. I don’t think I’ll have a problem with it but that’s a lot of pills.


Not an opioid, but a synthetic copy cat drug…allegedly not addictive, but people still use them to get high.
I got a months supply once at double the recommended dose ( 4 pills per day - 120 pills).

certain opioids used to be given for some sz symptoms and seemed to work, but the addiction factor and low cost caused such prescriptions to cease…

“Opium and Brief History of Psychiatric Drugs
"Physicians and psychiatrists-to say nothing of patients suffering from psychic disorders-have long searched for pharmacological ways to ease emotional suffering, even if that suffering could never be medicated away entirely. In the Victorian era, the drug of choice was laudanum, a high-octane mix of ethanol and opium that packed just the chemical wallop it sounds it would. The drug was used as a painkiller, an antidepressant and an antihysteric, and it often worked quite well-provided you overlooked the fact that it was also wildly addictive and frequently lethal.”"

The Chinese were known to use strait opium to calm manic people…