2007 financial crisis linked to increase in patients seeking treatment for prescription drug and painkiller addiction

The 2007 onset of the financial crisis that upended the U.S. economy and impacted global markets correlated closely with unprecedented numbers of patients seeking treatment for prescription drug addiction and painkiller abuse, according to leading rehabilitation center Cliffside Malibu. The Cliffside Index, the percentage of patients admitted for treatment related to those medications, rose over 60 percent between 2007 and 2008, and has continued to increase each year.

Beginning in 2007, a growing number of patients began expressing heightened states of uncontrollable anxiety about the economy, reported the physicians and other mental and physical health experts who oversee rigorous protocols of daily therapy sessions at the highly regarded facility.  However, leveling off of patient admissions for abuse of painkillers and prescription drugs at the end of 2010 year may signal that the economy is stabilizing or that this is the U.S. public's perception.

Key Findings from Cliffside Malibu's Review:

  • The increase in the proportion of patients seeking treatment for prescription drug and painkiller addiction unrelated to injury has increased 143% since 2005 (from 21.8% to 52.9%). 
  • The largest yearly increase in proportion of patients seeking treatment for prescription drug and painkiller addiction was 60.1% from 2007 to 2008 (at start of the economic crisis)
  • Xanax is by far the most abused substance among patients admitted for treatment of prescription medication addiction (60% of cases), followed by Klonopin and Oxycontin.
  • Beginning in 2007, increasing numbers of patients cited the country's financial situation as a major cause of elevated anxiety levels.
  • Leveling off of patient admissions for painkillers and other prescription drug abuse suggests the economy may be turning around  

"People recovering from substance addiction at Cliffside are apparently beginning to feel that the economy is showing signs of recovery," said Richard Taite, Chief Executive Officer of Cliffside Malibu.  "I anticipate that in 2011 we will see a reduction in the proportion of admitted patients seeking treatment for dependence on prescription drugs."

Dr. Georgina Smith, Program Director of Cliffside Malibu adds, "In recent years we have noticed a higher percentage of our patients expressing anxiety over the state of the economy, and we have treated a record high number of people addicted to prescription pills, which can be misused to mask feelings of anxiety."

Source:

Cliffside Malibu

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