8 Facts About Prescription Drug Addiction
Although prescription opiates get the most press because they are a part of the present opiate epidemic in the United States, overall prescription drug abuse is a problem and it extends beyond the opiate epidemic, affecting users of many other types of prescription medication.
What follows is a list of facts, based in clinical evidence. It demonstrated the extent of the present problem. Although, it must be remembered that there is much more available date; this is just a sampling.
Considerably more people have misused prescription drugs than have marijuana use disorder.
Certainly, the comparison isn’t a seamless one because a single nonmedical use doesn’t signify a use disorder. But the numbers do work to demonstrate the sheer scope of misuse.
Young people make up a large percentage of individuals who have used prescription drugs nonmedically.
Young people who abuse prescription drugs are more likely to use other drugs.
NIDA asserts many studies reveal an association between the following and prescription drug abuse among American adolescents, young adults, and college students:
• Heavy episodic drinking
• Cigarette smoking
• Marijuana, cocaine, and other illicit drug use
Over one in ten people that have used prescription drugs nonmedically have a use disorder.
The NIDA confirms that among individuals who admitted nonmedical use of a prescription drug in the past year, almost 14 percent meet the criteria necessary to qualify as abuse or dependence.
Prescription painkillers aren’t the only prescription drugs that are abused.
Prescription drug addiction are on the rise.
Drug overdoses in general, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who report more people dies from these overdoses in 2014 than in any other year on record. This upward trend holds fast for prescription drug overdoses as well. For example, deaths form prescription opiates alone, like those previously listed, have quadrupled since 1999.
The number of prescriptions distributed for prescription painkillers is astounding and on the rise.
The NIDA asserts the number of these prescriptions has climbed sharply in the last 25 years. The volume of prescriptions for opiates has risen from roughly 76 million in 1991 to almost 207 million in 2013. The United States remains the biggest global consumer of these drugs, credited with nearly 100 percent of the global total for hydrocodone and 81 percent for oxycodone.
The number of prescriptions for stimulants is also skyrocketing.
Data from SDI’s Vector One: National (VONA), a national-level projected prescription and patient-centric tracking service, the total number of stimulant prescriptions in the market has steadily risen from 1991 to the present. In 1991, there were roughly 4 million prescriptions. However, in 2012, there were an estimated 45 million. This rate of increase has continued.
Many of the prescriptions distributed are given to older adults.
The NIDA reminds readers that people over the age of 65 only make up 13 percent of the American population. And, yet, they make up more than one third of total outpatient spending on prescription medicine. For many reasons, this practice of prescribing puts this population at more risk than younger ones.