The White House has declared prescription drug abuse to be the fastest-growing problem in the Nation when it comes to illegal drugs. According to Whitehouse.gov, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) determined that close to 1/3 of all young people trying illegal drugs for the first time began their descent into drug use by taking prescription drugs for reasons other than their health. The survey also determined that of all the young people who have begun using prescription drugs in a recreational matter since around 2009, more than 70% of the ones who abused the drugs obtained them from a friend or family member as opposed to the 5% that acquired their drugs on the Internet.
Statistics of the Drug Epidemic
Illegal uses of prescription drugs are second only to marijuana in terms of drug choices made by addicts. The United States military has seen an increase in drug use for the past few years from soldiers looking to relieve stress. Between 2005 and 2008 there was a 7% increase in the illegal drug use of soldiers.
The White House has been focusing on abuse of opioid prescriptions. These pain relievers are by far the strongest of any medication that exists today. The rise in prescriptions of opiod medications had increased 48% by 2009; meaning 257 million people were prescribed opiod medications that year alone.
Some examples of opioids include:
Effects of the Drug Epidemic
According to Drugfree.org, over 20,000 people per year die from abuse of opioid drugs. Within the last decade alone, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of babies born with addictions to opioid drugs. The organization states that one of the problems causing this drug epidemic is that drugs such as OxyContin are being prescribed for minor pain when they are very strong painkillers that should only be prescribed if a patient is in a lot of pain.
DrugFree.org reports that in order to help fight the drug epidemic doctors, nurse practitioners and dentists need to keep up with medical evidence suggesting how dangerous these drugs actually are.
Accidental Deaths and Prescription Drugs
According to On Point with Tom Ashbrook, the number of accidental deaths that occur from using opioid drugs and other prescription drugs has skyrocketed since the 1980s. Overdoses due to abuse of drugs such as Xanax and Oxycontin are the leading cause of accidental deaths since 2011.
The struggle to end this drug epidemic is likely to get worse before it gets better. However, with proper knowledge and precautions, the war on prescription drugs can be won in America.