The L.A. Times reports on non-medical use of prescription drugs:
In a study presented Tuesday, researchers surveyed approximately 10,000 U.S. adults, ages 18 to 49. They found non-medical use of stimulants occurred less frequently than non-medical use of other substances. Almost one-quarter of those surveyed said they had used prescription painkillers for non-medical uses and more than 15% had used sedatives or tranquilizers for non-medical reasons. About 9% had used prescription sleep pills, compared with about 8% of people who used stimulant medications for non-medical reasons.
It would be interesting to see the age groups stratified. I’d imagine stimulants skew toward younger people.
CNN also picks up on the story:
More than 5 million Americans misused prescription painkillers in a one-month period in 2009, according to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health from that year.
And a huge majority – more than 70% – of those prescription-drug abusers said they got the drugs from friends and relatives.
A recent CDC report also addresses the subject:
- In 2007, 27,658 unintentional drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States.
- Rates [of overdose deaths] have increased roughly five-fold since 1990.
For those concerned that attempts to address the problem have hurt pain patients, the CDC shares this data point:
There has been at least a 10-fold increase in the medical use of opioid painkillers during the last 20 years because of a movement toward more aggressive management of pain.