For years, the prescription drug epidemic has been front and center in the news. It is estimated that 16 million Americans over the age of 12 abuse prescription medications yearly. Also, 12 percent (or 2 million) of Americans are addicted to prescription drugs in the United States. The staggering statistics regarding prescription drug abuse are shocking and even inconceivable to some people. If you or a loved one are fighting a losing battle with prescription medication, now is the time to take action and get the professional help you need. This article will further detail the reasons why prescription drug abuse is common, and we will take a look at 10 facts about prescription drug abuse in America that may open your eyes. Call Aspire Treatment Solutions today for quality drug treatment programs in Atlanta that will help you address and overcome prescription medication addiction.
Why is Prescription Drug Abuse Common?
For many people, the most startling fact about prescription drug abuse is how common it really is. Approximately 58 million Americans over the age of 12 have abused prescription drugs in their lifetime. Additionally, prescription drug abusers comprise nearly 6 percent of the entire U.S. population. With prescription drug misuse being a significant health issue in the United States, why is it so common?
First and foremost, prescription drugs are easily accessible. Whether you have them, a family member, or friend, they are easily found in the medicine cabinet, a drawer, or someone’s purse and bag. Like other drugs, people abuse prescription medications in order to feel better, to fit in, or to perform better at work or school. Thirdly, many people feel that prescription drugs are “safe” because a doctor prescribes them. As a result, they may keep taking them even beyond the time period in which they were most effective.
10 Facts About Prescription Drug Abuse in America
The following facts about prescription drug abuse aim to paint a sobering and realistic picture of the epic scope of this major public health issue. These facts are meant to educate you about this epidemic and hopefully spur you to action if you or a loved one is fighting prescription addiction.
Prescription Drugs Are Often More Potent than Street Drugs
One of the most surprising facts about prescription painkiller addiction is that prescription drugs are sometimes more powerful than street drugs. For instance, fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine. Oxycodone, the major ingredient in Oxycontin, is 50 times more potent than morphine.
People Abuse Over the Counter Medications
A surprising fact that many people may now know is that people will abuse over-the-counter (OTC) medications—especially if they can’t find prescription medications. For example, Nyquil contains the active ingredient dextromethorphan. When taken in large amounts, it creates hallucinogenic effects.
Addiction Can Occur Even if Taken as Prescribed
Another one of the surprising facts about prescription abuse in America is that addiction can occur even if medications are taken as prescribed. Even under close supervision, people can become dependent on medications because of underlying medical issues not diagnosed, their age, and any other types of dependency that weren’t noted in the initial assessment.
Pain Relievers are the Most Abused Prescription Drugs
A fact about prescription painkillers that is fairly known is that opioid medications are the most abused prescription drugs. Close behind are anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax and stimulant drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin.
Opioids Kill More People than Breast Cancer
One of the most sobering facts about prescription painkillers in the United States is that opioids kill more people than breast cancer. In 2016, 42,249 people died from opioid overdoses, compared to the 41,070 people who die from breast cancer annually.
There Are Thousands of Prescription Drugs
In the United States, there are over 20,000 prescription medications that are being actively marketed and available.
A Significant Percentage of Teens Misuse Prescription Drugs
It is estimated that 1 in 7 teenagers abuse prescription drugs.
Many Heroin Users Started Abusing Prescription Painkillers
A shocking fact about prescription painkillers is that 80 percent of heroin users started out with prescription opioids. The main reason for the switch was the lower prices and greater availability of heroin.
Young People Have the Highest Percentage of Abuse
According to data provided by NIDA, the 18 to 25-year-old age bracket has the highest percentage of prescription drug abuse, which a median age of 21.
People Combine Prescription Medicines with Other Substances
In order to amplify or negate the effects of certain drugs, people will combine prescription drugs with other substances—often with serious and even deadly consequences. Common combinations include alcohol and opioids and alcohol and benzodiazepines.
How to Find Prescription Drug Treatment
Prescription drug abuse is a serious issue that can have long-reaching and even lethal effects. If you are in need of treatment for prescription addiction, call Aspire Treatment Service toll-free right now. Our premier outpatient treatment facility in Atlanta has years of proven experience in helping people from all walks of life find lasting recovery. Our evidence-based treatment programs and experienced and compassionate staff will empower you to address and overcome your addiction.
Call Aspire today and begin your journey to sobriety.