America’s Addiction To Illicit Drugs Declining And Prescription Painkiller Abuse Growing

Regarding America’s drug epidemic, there’s good news and there’s bad news as discovered within the findings of the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The good news is that we are seeing a decline in the use of illicit drugs. However, as reported by the NY Times, we are now seeing the drug scene move towards the abuse of prescription painkillers. This may or may not come as a surprise to some.

The most current National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides the statistics that back the statement that America is shifting away from illicit drugs and towards prescription painkillers. According to the most current National Survey on Drug Use and Health there were approximately 1.5 million people using cocaine in the previous month, down from 2 million in 2002, and 5.8 million in the mid-1980s. Methamphetamine use followed a similar trend to cocaine. Only heroin, reports the NY Times, was up a little from 213,000 users in 2008 to 239,000 in 2010.

While it’s good news to be actively moving in the direction of cleaning up America’s streets from illicit drugs and there are probably many in the drug enforcement field celebrating this improvement, the increase in the abuse of prescription painkillers is still alarming. The same National Survey on Drug Use and Health found 7 million users of “psychotherapeutics” in the previous month in 2010. Even more startling was the fact that in 2008, there were 36,450 overdose deaths in the United States and of those, 20,044 involved prescription drugs. What you may not realize is that this number is greater than all other illicit drugs combined!

Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics

Here are some basic prescription drug abuse statistics outlining the severity of the current problem:

1.    71 percent of the world’s Oxycodone is consumed by the United States
2.    99 percent of the world’s Hydrocodone is used by citizens of the United States
3.    $234.1 billion was spent on prescription drugs in the United States in 2008, which was more than twice as much as what was spent in 1999
4.    The percentage of Americans that took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44 percent to 48 percent over the last decade
5.    20 percent of Americans over the age of 12 that have admitted to abusing prescription drugs
6.    23 percent of stimulant prescription drug abusers experience depression
7.    56 percent of new prescription drug abusers are over the age of 18
8.    In 2007-2008, 9 out of every 10 older Americans reported using at least one prescription drug in the past month

Prescription drug abuse statistics for teens are just as shocking and include:

1.    17 percent of high school seniors have abused amphetamins
2.    9.3 percent of high school seniors admitted to abusing Vicodin
3.    5 percent of high school seniors admitted to abusing Oxycontin
4.    3 million teenagers will become new prescription drug abusers this year
5.    2 million teenagers reported abusing prescription drugs in 2006
6.    In 2007-2008, 1 out of every 5 children reported using at least one prescription drug in the past month

How Does One Not Develop An Addiction To Painkillers

In a country that pumps out so many pain pills and the use of prescription medication is so rampant, it can be easy for a person to find themselves in a situation where they are addicted to painkillers. According to Narconon center the best cure is to prevent the addiction from ever occurring in the first place. When a painkiller is prescribed by a medical professional, do not be shy or uncertain about getting a second opinion to ensure it is really the best course of action for you to combat whatever pain you are experiencing.

Often times, there are other medical routes and solutions available. If you are already abusing prescription drugs or if you know someone who is, get help immediately. For more information on prescription painkiller addiction, please contact a Narconon center now.