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L.I. Doctor Weighs In On Alarming New Federal Painkiller Abuse Statistics

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Prescription painkillers (file/credit: CBS 2)

Prescription painkillers (file/credit: CBS 2)

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Alarming new statistics released Friday confirm more and more of the nation’s drug problem is hidden in medicine cabinets of suburban homes. As the accessibility rises, the age of addicts is dropping.

“Addiction caused me to do things that I never saw myself doing — stealing, robbing, lying, cheating,” a former addict, who wanted his name witheld, told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Federal statistics reveal that treatment for prescription painkiller abuse has skyrocketed a whopping 430 percent over the last decade.

“Our entire in-patient services have really become centered on these young people, who are addicted to opiates of any form. The vast majority report starting off with intranasal use of pain pills,” Dr. Constantine Ioannou, of Nassau University Medical Center said.

Ioannou, chief of addiction psychiatry at Nassau, is not surprised that the rise occurred in every region of the country. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration among the abused drugs include:

  • Tylenol with codeine
  • Darvocet
  • Vicodin
  • Percocet

Those drugs rank highest on the list of most-abused prescription medicines.

“There are a significant number getting it from the medicine cabinets or from whatever dealer they can find that sells it,” Ioannou said. “Doctor shopping is a big part of it. “

The Nassau District Attorney’s surveillance video caught abuse first hand from the prescription pads of an accused shady health practitioner. The doctor practiced next to Massapequa High School and later pleaded guilty.

“Whether it’s home invasions, little kids being run down on the street or murders in murders in Medford on Father’s Day, this is the collateral damage associated with Long Island’s opiate crisis,” Jeff Reynolds, of the Long Island Council on Drug Dependence, said.

Some experts believe marijuana is serving as a gateway drug to pill popping. Marijuana use has climbed 33 percent.

The study shows that while prescription pills and marijuana abuse grow, fewer are requiring treatment for heroin, cocaine and alcohol addiction.

Are you alarmed by the statistics? Share your thoughts in the comments section…

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