How many people physically dependant on opioids live in the US?
August 17, 2013 12:31 PM Subscribe
For some odd reason, I can only find statistics estimating the amount of regular heroin users in the US. I'm interested in all opioid based medications, both legal and illicit, prescription or otherwise. I'm interested in both people who are addicted and those who are physically dependent due to pain management. Do reliable statistics exist that encompass this entire population?
posted by WhitenoisE to Society & Culture (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've been reading up on the period of history known as The Great Binge (1870-1914) in which patent medicines were abundant, laudanum was freely sold over the counter and morphine/heroin based cough syrups and other opiate formulations were freely handed out to women and children for minor things like menstrual cramps and colic. According to the sources I've encountered, an estimated 150,000-200,000 opiate addicts lived in the US at the time, mostly women.
Considering how accessible, widespread and socially acceptable opium, morphine, and heroin concoctions were at this time, this number seems rather low. I'm starting to wonder if there are really less people dependent on opioid based medications today as a fraction of the total population, despite the regulations in place.