Though it may seem that prescription medication abuse is a relatively new issue, addiction treatment centers have been addressing it for years. Now, America is more heavily medicated than ever and the sheer number of pills in circulation has inevitably spurred a surge in abuse rates.
So how big is the problem, exactly? Approximately 70 percent of Americans are taking at least one prescription pill, and one in five patients currently receive five prescriptions or more. These findings are problematic because prescription pills are widely abused among young Americans, placing third after alcohol and marijuana among people over the age of 14 who use drugs. Meanwhile, 70 percent of adolescents over the age of 12 have said that they first got a hold of prescription pills from a friend or relative.
Reasonably easy access to prescription pills is a major concern for politicians, health care professionals and American families. However, the most damaging statistics relate to public perceptions of prescription pill abuse. Teens may be more likely to casually abuse prescription pills because approximately 50 percent of this population does not believe these medications are as dangerous as "real" drugs like cocaine or heroin. This an incredibly dangerous misconception, as overdoses from antidepressants (the second most widely prescribed medication), opioids and depressants have been linked to more deaths than perceived "hard" drugs.
Prescription pill abuse isn't just an issue for teenagers; roughly 52 million Americans between 25 and 50 years old have admitted to misusing medications. If you or someone you know is routinely abusing prescription medication, now is the time to take action by calling a drug addiction treatment center. Fairwinds Treatment Center founder Dr. El-Yousef has been a pioneer in dual diagnosis treatment, developing a program that combines extensive psychiatric care with a 12-step program and medication to facilitate recovery. Contact us today to discuss your options, and click here for more information on prescription pill abuse.