With the prevalence of prescription drug abuse and corresponding fatal overdose rates, it’s time to challenge the way we view and respond to the substance abuse epidemic sweeping the U.S. By correcting misconceptions, banishing stigmas, educating the public, and creating greater access to recovery services, we can work together to heal the damage caused by prescription drug abuse.
10 Facts You Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse
#1: The U.S. Spent $1,162/Person on Prescription Drugs in 2017.
Despite only containing about five percent of the world’s population, Americans spend significantly more on prescription drugs than any other country. With an average of $1,162 per person, each year the United States spends $360.2 billion on medications which are often improperly prescribed, unused, or abused.
#2: Leading Cause of Death in Americans Under 50.
According to the CDC, in 2016 drug overdose became the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old. Perpetuated by an influx in opioid abuse and misuse of depressants and stimulants, it is estimated that more than 40 people die each day, with the Northeastern region of the country seeing the most significant increase.
#3: Young Adults Between 18 and 25 Represent the Largest Demographic of Prescription Drug Abusers.
Contributing factors include misinformation regarding safety, ease of access through family members and friends, and misguided sense of invulnerability.
#4: Each Day, More Than 5,700 American Teens Abuse Prescription Drugs For the First Time.
Driven by peer pressure, stress, anxiety, and other repressed emotional difficulties, teen prescription drug abuse can lead to a lifetime of undue and avoidable strife.
#5: Prescription Drug Abuse Multiplies the Risk of Other Substance Abuse Disorders.
Opioid abuse and other forms of prescription drug abuse doubles the likelihood of developing alcoholism. Marijuana abuse is five times more likely and abuse of powerful opiates like heroin and cocaine is 20 times more probable.
#6: Third Most Common Form of Substance Abuse Among Teens.
Only marijuana abuse and alcohol abuse are more common among people between the ages of 12 and 18.
#7: One of the Most Common Types of Substance Abuse Nationwide.
15 million Americans experience prescription opioid abuse and addiction each year.
#8: Motivations Vary by Gender.
Female prescription drug abusers typically do so for a desired side effect such as weight loss or alertness. Males more commonly use prescription drugs recreationally for psychological effects.
#9: Most Misused Prescription Drugs Obtained From Loved Ones.
More than half of people who experience opioid, stimulant, or depressant drug abuse report their primary sources are friends or family members. Typically these drugs are taken from medicine cabinets without the knowledge of the prescribed party.
#10: Fatal Overdoses More Common Among Men than Women.
According to the CDC, men are more likely to die due to prescription drug overdose than women.