The abuse of prescription painkillers has become one of America's most dangerous pastimes. In fact, opioid painkillers like Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin are involved in half of all fatal overdoses in the United States. What if we could make a painkiller that wasn't so addictive?
The Dimensions Of The Painkiller Problem
Prescription painkillers are a massive problem that continues to grow. It's estimated that prescriptions for analgesics have increased by 104% since 2000. More than two million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers. To make things even worse, fatal overdose has increased by 400% in the last 15 years.
The problem has gotten so bad that the CDC calls prescription painkiller abuse an "epidemic."
New Research For Non-Addictive Painkillers
There are several different approaches being researched right now. Most involve novel approaches to brain chemistry. In the neuroscience of addiction, painkillers work by interacting with the opioid receptors in the brain.
One research project is focused on a variant of opioid receptors. Researchers are looking into what are called "splice variants," which will bind opioids differently, reducing chances for addiction or overdose.
Other approaches are focused on the complexities of opioid receptors in the brain. Some scientists are looking at approaches that will turn some receptor types on, and some off. Other scientists are targeting mu-opioid receptors, but not delta-opioid receptors.
There are some more unconventional methods. Instead of targeting opioid receptors in the brain, researchers might target cannabinoid receptors, capsaicin receptors, or sodium or calcium channels in cell membranes.
Finding Treatment That Works Today
This research is still largely in its infancy, but it does offer some promising hope for painkillers that won't be addictive. When you're struggling with painkiller addiction right now, however, the best approach to recovery is finding an effective course of rehab that works for you.
Call Retreat at Lancaster County today to learn more about how we can work with your health insurance company. Most people can get their rehab stay partially or totally paid for.