Prescription Drug Abuse Rates Rise Overall, Remain Lower Among 12 to 17 Year Olds

September 18, 2013

Topics: Prescription Drug Abuse

The number of people abusing prescription medications in 2012 rose to 6.8 million users from 6.1 million users in 2011, a 10% increase, as indicated in the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This annual report provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also indicates that prescription drugs continue to be one of the most abused controlled substances, second only to marijuana. Abuse rates for all major categories of prescription drugs saw increases, with painkillers remaining the most abused substance (with nearly 4.9 million illicit users, up from 4.5 million in 2011). Despite these increases, rates of prescription drug abuse among youths aged 12 to 17 remained at 2.8%, preserving a gradual decline from a rate of 4% in 2002. Over half the number of people who obtained prescription drugs for non-medical use received them from a friend or relative at no cost, while another 15% bought them or took them from a friend or relative. The full report and a summary of the survey results are available on the SAMHSA Web site. Consumers can help in the effort to reduce prescription drug abuse rates by participating in the Drug Enforcement Administration National Prescription Take-Back Day scheduled for Saturday, October 26, 2013.