A new report indicates that prescription pain reliever abuse has increased dramatically across all sectors of society and is America’s fastest-growing drug problem.
The study was conducted by a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) findings suggest that prescription painkiller abuse has elevated to a level where it is a public health threat. Their study also found that “non-medical use of prescription pain relievers is now the second most prevalent form of illicit drug use in the nation.” According to the SAMHSA study, substance abuse treatment admissions of those aged 12 and older involving abuse of prescription pain relievers rose by over 400 percent from 2.2 percent in 1998 to 9.8 percent in 2008. The study also found that emergency visits to hospitals involving the non-medical use of prescription narcotic pain relievers more than doubled between 2004 and 2008.
While the country debates the effectiveness of the war on drugs along with the legalization of medical marijuana in many states, the abuse of prescription drugs has skyrocketed. For many teenagers, gaining access to the medicine cabinet is much easier than the liquor cabinet. With more children and adolescents being prescribed drugs for ADHD and other related behavior issues, the opportunity for abuse rises. R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) stated that, “Reducing prescription drug abuse is a top priority of this Administration’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy.”
Has your family been impacted by prescription drug abuse? What steps need to be taken to reduce the rate of prescription drug abuse?