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Pain Killer Addiction A National Epidemic

January 30, 2014, 4:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Pain Killer Addiction A National Epidemic

The United States makes up just five percent of the world's population, yet we consume more than 80 percent of the world's pain-killing medications.

"I don't want to say lackadaisical attitude about these drugs for pain management, but they were used far too often. I mean, there is a national epidemic going on with prescription opiates throughout our country," Craig Kindrat said.

Kindrat works with Avera Behavioral Health. He helps people who find themselves in the dark hole of addiction, and says it's a tough road for anyone.

"'Beat' is maybe the different word that I would use. How do they learn to live with opiate addiction if they have it," Kindrat said.

People who suffer from this kind of addiction may try to hide it from friends and family, but constant mood swings and a major change in social behavior are hard to ignore.

"Those are red flags that, geez, we're not saying you don't have pain, we're not saying you might not have legitimate depression, but geez, we've got something going on here that we might get a little more proactive looking at," Kindrat said.

More pain killers being created every day, which means more addicts. The good news, however, is that also mean more opportunities to study the problem and identify ways to reduce it.

"A practitioner can prescribe a certain medication to a certain person with certain genetic identifiers. There's risk factors, we may be preventing the capabilities of some of these issues," Kindrat said.

The most effective way that someone suffering through addiction can help themselves is to admit there's a problem and seek counseling. Some of those options include Face It Together and Avera Behavior Health.

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