America’s drug problem has shifted to legal substances: pain killers. The addictive pills are being smuggled into the United States from Mexico, where drug wars have led to increased violence. The United States is now trying to cultivate a plan to reduce demand for pain killers by educating those in law enforcement and building up the institutions — especially courts and prosecutors’ offices — that would lead to long-term stability in Mexico and elsewhere.
The New York Times writes,
“Studies show that prescription painkillers, and stimulants to a lesser extent, are the nation’s biggest drug problem. The same survey that identified 1.5 million cocaine users in 2010 found 7 million users of ‘psychotherapeutics.’ Of the 36,450 overdose deaths in the United States in 2008, 20,044 involved a prescription drug, more than all illicit drugs combined.”
Cocaine use is declining because prescription painkillers are arguably easier and safer to access. Are doctors over-prescribing painkillers? Should there be more education in the medical field about diagnosis and treatment? Who is to blame for the sudden demand spike?
For more information, see: The New York Times