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Larissa Doucette

According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) (PDF), the number of people abusing prescription medications in the last 30 days was 6.5 million, which is similar to 2013 levels. The annual report, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), also found that an estimated 4.3 million people (aged 12 or older) reported non-medical use of prescription pain relievers, which is lower than most years from 2002 to 2012, but similar to 2013.

The 2014 estimate for current non-medical use of psychotherapeutic drugs among people aged 12 or older represents 2.5% of the population and was slightly lower than the estimates in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010 (which ranged from 2.7% to 2.9% of the population), and was similar to the estimates in the other years between 2002 and 2013, indicates the report. The NSDUH combines four prescription-type drugs into one category referred to as “psychotherapeutics,” which includes pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives.

Safely disposing of unneeded medications is one way to help fight prescription drug abuse. Individuals wishing to help in this effort can participate in the next Drug Enforcement Administration National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, scheduled for Saturday, September 26, 2015. More information about safe drug disposal is available on the AWARXE® website.