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By Jeff Terrill
Fort Wayne Reader
Many of you know. Some of you donít. The number one cause of unintentional deaths in the U.S. is heroin and prescription drug overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 44,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in 2013. CNN.com reports that number increased to over 47,000 deaths in 2014.
Opioids are pain relievers like hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and codeine. Some doctors are quick to prescribe drugs such as Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin to help minimize their patientsí pain. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, doctors wrote 259 million opioid prescriptions in the U.S. in 2012.
Meet J.P. Heís twenty-two and might not live to see his next birthday. J.P. broke his leg while snow boarding during his senior year in high school. J.P. is an honest, considerate and well-liked teenager. Heís not a real person. His doctor prescribes him two different types of painkillers after his surgery. J.P. really likes the way the drugs keep his pain under control. J.P. also likes the way the drugs make him feel.
J.P. experiences complications from the surgery and manages to receive multiple refills from his doctor over the weeks and months after his initial surgery. J.P.ís parents believe the pain pills are safe. They think the drugs are helping their sonís injury heal. They trust that the doctor knows whatís best. They have no idea what the drugs are doing to him.
J.P.ís leg finally heals. J.P. graduates from high school and enrolls in college. J.P. continued to use pain pills. He convinces doctors that he has pain in his leg, back and neck. When his pills run out, J.P. takes pills from his parents. J.P. steals pills from his grandpa and even from his friendsí parents. J.P. is hooked.
A friend turns J.P. on to heroin, which is cheaper and much easier to find. J.P. doesnít like needles but he begins shooting heroin everyday. Soon, J.P. is stealing to support his heroin habit.
J.P. tries to get clean but just canít pull it off. He tells his parents that he needs help. His folks find a counselor that is covered by their insurance. By the time J.P.ís first appointment rolls around, J.P. is back to using and back to not wanting to stop.
J.P.ís parents want to help but they donít know what to do. They contact in-patient rehabilitation facilities but J.P. refuses to go.
J.P. needs help. His doctors introduced him to some of the most pleasure-inducing and addictive drugs on the planet. They fed his habit when he was only a kid. J.P.ís parents were naÔve and uninformed.
J.P. and his parents wish they could go back in time. They would ask more questions. They would learn more about the drugs. They would be less trusting.
They would know that prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that affects millions of American lives each year.
Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you