An Alarming Rise in Prescription Drug Abuse

When researching prescription drug abuse, you don’t have to dig very deep to find some startling statistics. It is America’s fastest growing drug problem. But for many people it’s easy to overlook the severity of this addiction – even when it affects their nearest and dearest — because prescription drugs are not the well-known street drugs they have long been taught to fear. After all, these substances are prescribed by doctors, and prescription drug addiction often starts with the best of intentions when seeking relief from physical pain. For anyone still wearing rose-colored glasses, here are the cold hard facts:

According to the Center for Disease Control, someone dies from a prescription drug overdose in this country every nineteen minutes.  That is triple the rate from 1990. Between 1998 and 2006, more people died from accidental prescription drug overdose than from cocaine and heroin combined. A 2012 study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that 2.7% of 8th graders, 7.7% of 10th graders, and 8.0% of 12th graders had abused Vicodin and 2.1% of 8th graders, 4.6% of 10th graders, and 5.1% of 12th graders had used OxyContin for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over the last twenty years the rate of hospital admissions for conditions related to prescription medications and illicit drug use rose by 96 percent among people ages 65 and 84; for people 85 and older, admissions grew 87 percent.  In fact, elderly drug addictionis a growing problem.

This is a problem that affects thousands of Americans regardless of age, income and ethnic background. It’s time to get serious about treating prescription drug abuse.