Older adults are not immune to the problems of abuse and addiction, and signs point to a growing problem.
According to a survey by the National Safety Council, ninety-nine percent of primary care doctors routinely prescribe potentially addictive opioid painkillers for longer than the three-day period recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The nation is simultaneously in the midst of a chronic pain epidemic and an opioid epidemic.
In the case of opioid pain medication, not only is it often not medically indicated to use these medications, but we also take a significant risk each time we prescribe them. We risk our patient developing a dependence or addiction, we risk the medications being diverted or abused, we risk saddling patients with side effects that can be worse than their primary complaint.
These are good reasons to be thoughtful, if not outright resistant to using opioid painkillers. Opioids are killing more than 18,000 people every year, so asking your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about the alternative options for pain relief and whether opioids are necessary.
As medical boards, insurers and government agencies enforce this guideline, prescribing differently from the top line recommendations is likely to become onerous, leaving many patients in the lurch.
Like many families, my husband, sons and I often have engaging conversations while we're sitting at the dinner table. Something about that environment naturally lends itself to conversation. Sometimes we just share details from our days, or my kids tell me what they learned at school. But sometimes we have our most thought-provoking talks while putting forks to plates.
The problems in Fayetteville reflect what has been unfolding nationwide ever since the resurgence of heroin and the soaring use of prescription painkillers such as Percocet or Vicodin. Although these drugs have claimed thousands of lives in the U.S., healthcare resources and services have failed to catch-up to meet the demands for opiate treatment programs.
During a recent campaign stop, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promised to make the "quiet epidemic" involving heroin and prescription opioids an important part of her presidential campaign. The world is listening right now. It's the perfect time for her to create a rallying cry against this "quiet" epidemic.
Follow HuffPost Teen on Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pheed | Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news
It's long been said that trends start in California. With one eye on the balance sheet and one on the legal history books, five of the world's largest drug manufacturers are probably hoping that's not true.