As prescription drug medications increasingly evolve to address chronic pain in patients suffering from legitimate illness, an increasing number of individuals are seeking the medications to feed an addiction. The misuse of prescription drugs is second only to marijuana in terms of numbers in the United States.
According to a recent Science Daily report, 22 million people throughout the country are initiating the use of prescription medications for nonmedical purposes since 2002. The report cited a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report that combined data from 2010 and 2011 indicating rates of prior year use among individuals aged 12 and older ranging anywhere from 3.6 percent in states like Iowa to 6.4 percent in states such as Oregon.
While the federal government recognizes the problem of prescription drug misuse across the state, there are still a number of obstacles to overcome. For one, addressing the issue across the states has been nothing less than inconsistent. SAMHSA representatives believe that with combined data in the latest report, they will have a better understanding of the variations in use and abuse across the states.
The primary focus will be to educate the public on the serious health risks associated with prescription drug misuse, while making the necessary treatment available will also be a priority. It’s important for public safety and public health communities to join forces in their efforts to reduce the impact of prescription drug abuse.
As the public gains awareness of the dangers associated with the misuse of prescription drugs, the ultimate goal will be to clean out the medicine cabinets, limiting access to the drugs by removing those medications no longer needed.
Posted on Jan 29, 2013