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Prescription Drug Abuse Facts and Statistics

Prescription Drug AbuseWhile illegal drug abuse has decreased, the abuse of prescription drugs has reached epidemic status, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Narcotic pain relievers are at the top of the list of abused prescriptions, with overdoses and deaths rising significantly in recent years. One of the many dangers of prescription drug abuse involves erroneous beliefs about the safety of this type of drug use. Many people mistakenly believe that misusing prescription drugs is not dangerous, which can lead to increased use and abuse.

Negligent physicians and illegal online pharmacies are two ways in which people can obtain prescription drugs, states the attorney general of Georgia. Sometimes, a physician will even intentionally over-prescribe a prescription drug to a patient, which can lead to addiction and overdose. Prescription drug monitoring programs exist in 49 states, according to the Trust for America’s Health. PDMP programs vary in funding and scope, which can impact their effectiveness for identifying physicians who prescribe prescription drugs unethically.

The CDC warns that hepatitis and HIV are two risks connected with prescription drug abuse, due to a common trend that involves transitioning from prescription drugs to illicit drugs. Falls and fractures are another risk associated with prescription drug abuse. Health consequences vary depending on other factors, such as geographic location, age, gender, and diagnosed medical conditions.

Campaigns to educate people about the risks of prescription drug abuse may help reduce its prevalence. Educating parents, young people, and patients about prescription drug dangers is one strategy for reducing prescription drug abuse. For example, any patient prescribed a prescription pain reliever should receive clear instructions from the prescribing physician about how to use the drug safely, how to store it, and how to dispose of the drug, if applicable. Organized “medicine drop” events may also help to avoid prescription drugs falling into the wrong hands, states the North Carolina Department of Justice. These scheduled events enable law enforcement agencies to collect old medications from citizens instead of people throwing them away or leaving them in medicine cabinets where others could take them. Law enforcement agencies then dispose of the prescription drugs safely.

Specific Problems with Prescription Drug Abuse

Details About Prescription Drug Abuse

Statistics About Prescription Drug Abuse