On November 5, 2013, Eminem – a world-wide best-selling rap artist from the U.S. – released his latest album The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Since then, there has been a whirlwind of media attention for the star who has recently talked very openly about his past addiction to prescription drugs.

According to the rapper himself during an interview with Zane Lowe on Radio 1 in the UK, he was, at one point, taking up to 60 Valium and 30 Vicodin each day. He also overdosed on methadone back in 2007. During the interview he says, “I know there’s so many addicts in this world and people who had problems like that that don’t make it. So I’m thankful for that.”

It’s nice to see that he understands the reality of this type of drug abuse, and also understands that he really is lucky to have come out of his addiction alive and well. Around the world, prescription drug addiction is increasing at a rapid rate, and the outcomes are deadly.

In the U.S. alone, persons being treated for prescription drug abuse have increased by 400 percent from 1998 to 2000. The most commonly abused drugs are pain killers containing opioids, but also other depressants, stimulants and antidepressants. And as they say – where there’s smoke, there’s fire. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. found that emergency room visits due to prescription pill abuse increased by 98 percent between 2004 and 2010 – from 627,000 incidents per year, to over 1.2 million cases. In some states these drugs cause more deaths per year than motor accidents.

The US is not in this alone, however. Countries all over the world have seen a worrying increase in prescription drug abuse, and unfortunately, not everyone comes out swinging like Eminem has done. For him, he claims that his love for making music helped him get out alive and avoid going down “another path”.

In the meantime, increased awareness of this relatively new and rapidly increasing problem around the world is very important. In many cases, it’s harder to see the deadly warning signs with these types of drugs, whether you’re the one taking them – or a friend or family member of someone who is. The threat of these drugs is real, however, and it’s good to see celebrities opening up and talking about their own problems so the world can be educated on the dangers they entail. Thanks for your honesty, Eminem.

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