Abuse of and addiction toprescription drugs are on the rise at alarming rates.The leading factor responsible for the rapid growth in prescription drug abuse is accessibility to the medications.Many patients who are prescribed pain-killers for legitimate medical concerns may go on to use the drugs in excess and to become addicted. Also, these drugs are available for kids to experiment with; and can be found right in their own home’s medicine cabinet, on the internet, or maybe prescribed by a doctor. Due to accessibility to the medications, data compiled through exhaustive research has revealed that the abuse of prescription drugs is especially prevalent among adolescents.
Statistics On Drug Abuse
The National Institute on Drug Abuse released startling numbers from a study conducted in 2006. The data – which was released in March 2008 – reported approximately 7 Million Americans were using psychotherapeutic drugs during 2006. The 7 Million Americans (just less than 3% of the entire population) which were studied were using the prescription drugs non-medically. In other words, the drugs were used to chase a feeling of euphoria or to “get high”.
The class of drugs reported on is called psychotherapeutic drugs; those which target the central nervous system and which may be a part of treatment for various psychiatric disorders.. Following is a general breakdown of the classes of drugs studied and their non-medical usage in 2006:
- 5.2 million Americans relied on PAINKILLERS
- 1.8 million Americans abused TRANQUILIZERS
- 1.2 million Americans compulsively used STIMULANTS
- 0.4 million Americans were addicted to SEDATIVES
There is no proof or reason to believe, that these figures have dropped since 2006. In fact, there are indicators that prove that use in every class of these drugs continues to increase. Figures compiled in 2007 found that approximately 10% of 12th-grade students had used or were using the painkillers OxyContin and/or Vicodin for non-medicinal purposes. Non-medical use of amphetamines remains on the rise also; 7.5% of 12th graders admitted to abusing “speed” while abuse of Ritalin was reported by 3.8%.