Survey finds widespread anxiety over painkiller addictionNews added by Benefits Pro on April 16, 2013

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By Kathryn Mayer

More than half of Americans say prescription painkiller addiction is a “major health concern,” and the same number believe doctors should have limits on the amount and dosage of pain medication they are allowed to prescribe.

A poll by advocacy group Research!America found that most Americans are very concerned over prescription pain medications, as 85 percent of respondents expressed concerns that the drugs can be misused.

Nearly 50 percent described prescription-drug addiction as a major U.S. health problem, while 63 percent said they know someone who has taken prescription medication to cope with severe pain.

More specifically, the survey found that 40 percent believe that prescription medication abuse and addiction is a major problem in their community.

The public education and advocacy group used its survey findings to encourage better research on prescription pain killers and the reasons behind why people are using the medicine.

“We need to better understand addiction,” Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley said in a statement. “We shouldn’t shy away from research on new pain treatments based on fears of abuse. The suffering is simply too great.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 1.9 million people are addicted to prescription pain relievers. The number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has quadrupled since 1999, outnumbering those from heroin and cocaine combined.

Just 4 percent of survey respondents said it’s the responsibility of law enforcement to address the prescription drug abuse problem.

The poll of 1,016 respondents was conducted in March, and has a 3.1 percentage point margin of error.

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