On Tuesday, May 23, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the new commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called on his senior agency officers to work on “more forceful steps” in order to fight back against the opioid epidemic affecting the nation.
He also announced that the FDA was forming a new opioid policy steering committee in order to look into and develop additional tactics to push back against the crisis, including cutting down on the length of prescriptions of painkillers.
“The majority of people who eventually become addicted to opioids are exposed first to prescription opioids,” Gottlieb said in a blog post on the FDA site. “One recent study found that in a sample of heroin users in treatment for opioid addiction, 75% of those who began abusing opioids in the 2000s started with prescription opioid products.”
According to Gottlieb, research into addiction has found that the risk begins on the very first day a patient starts taking opiates. In a study published earlier this year by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they found that there was a six percent risk of continued use of opiates after just one day of use, and the longer the patient remained on painkillers, the more likely they were to continue using.
“For example, when a person’s first exposure to opioids increases from one day to 30 days, that person’s likelihood of continuing to use opioids after one year increases from 6 percent to about 35 percent,” Gottlieb explained.
The FDA has put in considerable effort towards combating this nationwide problem, but there is still much to do.
Our staff here at Schick Shadel Hospital are committed to helping people in need fight back against their addiction in order to reclaim control of their lives and move on to a brighter future. Through our counter conditioning program, we have helped over 68,000 patients break free from their vices, and continue to help each new patient who walks through our doors. Give us a call at (800) 272-8464 if you’re interested in learning more about what we can do to help, or send us a confidential message through our online form today.