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The Overprescribing of Prescription Drugs: Who Is to Blame?

doctor and patient

The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with a staggering number of people addicted to prescription medications. The overprescribing of prescription drugs has played a significant role in the crisis. It is a dangerous practice that has left the lives of countless Americans in shambles. But who is really to blame? Is it the doctors writing out excessive prescriptions, the money-hungry pharmaceutical companies, or a combination of the two? Banyan Treatment Centers Delaware digs deeper into this disturbing phenomenon and how a person should protect themselves.


Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics

The demographic of Americans that abuse prescription drugs the most are young adults, even though older and elderly people possess a higher risk for abuse and addiction.1 Studies show that over 16 million people will abuse their prescriptions in a year, the most common of which are painkillers, with a whopping 9.7 million annual users.1 Common examples of prescription drugs that are frequently abused include Adderall, Oxycodone, Vicodin, and Xanax. These substances all possess the risk of dependence, addiction, and even overdose.

The glaring fact that 4 out of 5 pharmacy-filled prescriptions are opioids can help to explain the prevalence of the epidemic that wages war on countless Americans.1 That is 80% of all prescriptions and highlights the fact that some of the most damaging substances, both in medicine cabinets and on the streets, have been perpetuated by the overprescribing of prescription drugs. But who is to blame?


Why Do Doctors Overprescribe?

A factor that has contributed to doctors overprescribing medication is the healthcare system's emphasis on treating symptoms rather than underlying causes. Many doctors are under pressure to see a high volume of patients, and due to this, they may not have the time to fully evaluate the root cause of a patient's condition. In some cases, doctors may prescribe medication as a quick fix without exploring other treatment options. This can even result in instances of drug cascading or the prescribing of a drug to treat the negative side effects of a separate prescription.

This focus on symptom management as opposed to genuine patient wellness is a phenomenon that continues to harm countless Americans around the country. But it isn’t just doctors and the healthcare system that is to blame. Big Pharma plays a significant role as well.


What Is Big Pharma?

The term Big Pharma refers to the largest pharmaceutical companies with significant market share and revenue. They are responsible for the development, production, and sale of prescription medications and other products, like devices and vaccines. It is highly believed that these companies are more focused on profits than improving the lives and health of their customers.

It is also believed that many of these companies engage in unethical practices, such as suppressing negative information about their products during pharmaceutical commercials. While these companies admittedly do important work in the development of life-changing medications, those benefits have become shadowed by the insidious consequences of the opioid crisis.

So, who exactly is to blame? Ultimately, it is a mix of doctors who rely on quick fixes and pharmaceutical companies that prioritize profit over patients. At this point, one of the best ways to address these issues is to lobby for stronger restrictions on the overprescribing of medications and treat current disorders with an addiction treatment program.


Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment at Banyan

The risk of overdose in drug abusers is something that sadly doesn’t always sway people away from their substance use. If someone is walking that line and struggling to break their destructive habits, Banyan’s Delaware rehab center is equipped with a prescription drug treatment program that can help them heal. It is here that they will be able to take the first steps toward recovery and away from the destructive hold of drug addiction.

To learn more about our rehab and detox in Delaware, call Banyan Treatment Centers at 888-280-4763 and speak with an intake specialist today.



  1. NCDAS - Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics


Related Reading

Prescription Pill Abuse in College: Get Educated

Facts About Prescription Drugs

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.