Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

Drug overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990, and have never been higher – and most of these deaths are from prescription drugs (source: CDC).  Deaths from prescription painkillers have reached epidemic levels in the past decade, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16,500 people died from painkiller overdoses in 2010.

Overdose deaths are only part of the problem—for each death involving prescription painkillers, hundreds of people abuse or misuse these drugs:

  • Emergency department visits for prescription painkiller abuse or misuse have doubled in the past 5 years to nearly half a million.
  • About 12 million American teens and adults reported using prescription painkillers to get “high” or for other nonmedical reasons.
  • Nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs more than $72.5 billion each year in direct health care costs.

(Above information quoted from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Saving Lives and Protecting People: Preventing Prescription Painkiller Overdoses)

One in five teens abuse prescription drugs.

Infographic on Prescription Drug Abuse Among Youth (Source: NIDA)

Prescription drug infographic: NIDA

Click infographic to enlarge. Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Top Graph: Past Year Drug Abuse Among High School Seniors Graph. After marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter medications account for most of the past-year use of commonly abused drugs among high school seniors. Data are for past-year use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

Bottom Left Image. About 1 in 9 youth or 11.4 percent of young people aged 12 to 25 used prescription drugs nonmedically within the past year. (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2010)

Bottom Right Graphic. Twenty-five percent of those who began abusing prescription drugs at age 13 or younger met clinical criteria for addiction sometime in their life. (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2010)

Does your “don’t do drugs” talk include what you’ll find in your home medicine cabinet? Find out more about what you can do to help prevent prescription drug abuse.

Key Links:

“Not in My House” [Partnership for Drug-Free America]

For parents: Facts, photos, and data on prescription drugs [KeepRxSafe.com]

Prescription Drug Child Safety Fact Page [DrugAlert.org]

Is Your Teen or Child Buying Prescription Drugs Online? [Psychology Today Online]