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Prescription drug abuse in America just keeps getting more and more press as the percentages and statistics continue to rise. More and more people are on prescription drugs than ever before and that is something to worry about.

Here are some statistics about prescription drug abuse in America that may surprise you.

The U.S Department of Health estimates that more than 50% of Americans take at least one prescribed pill a day.

The U.S Department of Health’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported the abuse of opioid painkillers has risen more than 400% over the last decade.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overdose deaths involving prescription drugs increased more than 200% in 6 years and the number of treatment admissions for prescription to opioids increased nearly 300% over the same amount of time.

About 6.3 million Americans currently use prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. One in five Americans misused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime.

Almost one in five teens — roughly 4.5 million — has tried getting high with prescription drugs like Vicodin, Oxycontin, Ritalin or Adderall according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors took Vicodin in the past year. With teens opioid abuse is second only to marijuana in popularity.

To some it may come as a surprise but to others who have been affected they are very aware; the use of illicit drugs has switched from cocaine and heroin to what may be in your medicine cabinet right now. Prescription drug abuse in America has more than made its debut.

The drugs most likely to land Americans in the ER now days are not meth, cocaine, heroin, or crack. Studies have shown that prescription painkillers, and stimulants are America’s biggest drug problem.

In fact, in a government survey about prescription drug abuse in America it was shown that of the 36,450 overdose deaths in America in 2008, 20,044 of those involved a prescription drug-which, by the way, is more than all the illicit drugs combined.

Prescription drug abuse means taking a prescription drug that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed. Abuse of prescription drugs can produce serious health effects, including addiction.

Some of the most common prescriptions drugs that are abused in America are:

  • Xanax- Z-bar, Bricks, Benzos
  • Oxycodone Oxy’s, Hillbilly Heroin, Dope, 40s, 20s, 80s
  • Valium- Blues
  • Ritalin- Vitamin R, Rid, Rittys, Rits
  • Adderall- Beans, Black Beauties, Speed, Uppers
  • Vicodin- Vike
  • Percocet- Percs
  • Sedatives and Tranquilizers- Chills Pills, French Friends, Tranqs

So why is prescription drug abuse in America increasing so much? There are a number of reasons prescription drug abuse is on the rise:

  • Doctors are less restrictive in prescribing, especially pain pills.
  • More pills in the medicine cabinet means more access for others in a household.
  • Less social stigma—you don’t typically buy prescriptions on the street corner.
  • Some, especially teens, believe they’re safer than illegal drugs.
  • Because of the availability, more people are exposed to these drugs. The more exposed the more abuse.
  • According to research, 5% to 10% of the population has brains that are wired for addiction. When these susceptible people start to use, their brain’s reward system tells them they can’t live without the drug. To them, the drug is like food or water. Addiction follows.

After knowing all about prescription drug abuse in America you are probably now wondering, well what do I do?

According to the FDA, to help with prescription drug abuse in America, you should follow these safety suggestions:

  • Always follow medication directions carefully.
  • Don’t increase or decrease doses without talking with your doctor.
  • Don’t stop taking medication on your own.
  • Don’t crush or break pills.
  • Be clear about the drug’s effects on driving and other daily tasks.
  • Learn about the drug’s potential interactions with alcohol, other prescription medicines, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Inform your doctor about your past history of substance abuse.
  • Don’t use other people’s prescription medications and don’t share yours.




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