Is Prescription Drug Abuse on the Decline?
|January 15, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Drug and Alcohol, News, Research||
Recreational use of controlled prescription drugs is second only to marijuana in popularity among drug-using Americans, and accounts for tens of thousands of substance abuse treatment admissions over the past decade. Psychiatric medications (benzodiazepines) oft prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and other medical conditions and pain-killers were the most common duo of prescription drugs reported by those seeking addiction treatment, resulting in a 570 percent increase in patient intakes between the years of 2000 and 2010. However, a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates a national decrease in nonmedical use of prescription drugs.
According to the report, State Estimates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers, based on data from The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), seven states with the highest rates of nonmedical prescription drug use were in the western region of the country, while states from the midwest and south made up the majority of those with the lowest rates. Pennsylvania was slightly below (4.2 percent) the 2011 national rate of 4.6 percent of residents reporting past year recreational use of controlled pain relievers. Both rates decreased between 2009 and 2011. Percentages by state and age group are available on the SAMHSA website.
Initiatives focused on medical staff and patient education and enforcement strategies may be having an impact on the prevalence of prescription drug abuse. If adopted, recently proposed regulations to the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 aimed at enhancing the ease and security of medication disposal may also contribute to a further decline of usage rates. But is it merely an issue of easy access, or are prescriptions from doctors assumed to be safer than “street” drugs?
Study Citation: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (January 8, 2013). The NSDUH Report: State Estimates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers. Rockville, MD.