By Angie Argabrite, Friday, June 15, 2012, at 9:01 am.
In the U.S., teens’ abuse of prescription pain medication has grown—one in eight has misused painkillers, which are now responsible for more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. Americans consume 80 percent of the world’s supply of pain meds, while across the pond an estimated 1.5 million Brits are addicted to prescription drugs. The issue is tragic for our youngest generation, too: The number of babies born addicted to pain pills is up, and the rate of child deaths by poisoning has risen by 80 percent in the last decade (prescription drugs are responsible for 57 percent of the increase). The White House is urging drugmakers to do more to help pay for public service announcements about prescription painkiller abuse; in India, government officials are even scrutinizing the printed inserts for prescription painkillers. With 47 percent of Americans reporting that they’re suffering from chronic pain, it’s crucial to take a hard look at the issue. Specialists say that pain is mostly in our heads: Anxiety and negative expectations worsen it, and distraction works as a powerful pain reducer. Health and wellness marketers might be feeling some pain right about now, too; a brainstorm on a sensitive yet powerful creative campaign could be just the distraction they need.