A new government survey finds 35 percent of American adults were prescribed painkillers last year, The Washington Post reports.
When prescription drug misuse—obtaining prescription drugs from friends, relatives or drug dealers—is taken into account, 38 percent of American adults used painkillers last year, the survey found.
The findings come from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which found more American adults used prescription painkillers last year than used cigarettes, cigars or smokeless tobacco combined.
According to the survey, misuse of prescription psychotherapeutic drugs is second only to marijuana as the nation’s most prevalent illicit drug use issue.
A new study estimates prescription opioid overdose, abuse and dependence costs $78.5 billion annually in the United States.
Researchers from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control said healthcare accounts for about one-third of costs attributable to the prescription opioid epidemic, Newswise reports.
An additional one-fourth of costs are borne by the public sector, they wrote in the journal Medical Care. Those costs include public insurance (Medicaid, Medicare and veterans’ programs), as well as other government sources for addiction treatment.
State and local governments also pay $7.7 billion annually in criminal justice costs related to the opioid epidemic.
Almost 19 Million Americans Misused Prescription Drugs Last Year
A new government survey finds 18.9 million people ages 12 and older—7.1 percent—misused prescription drugs such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives last year.
The survey found 45 percent of Americans take one or more of these drugs, NPR reports.
A new study finds an increased risk of suicide attempts in teens is associated with prescription drug abuse, Reuters reports.
Teens who said they used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes at the start of the study were almost three times as likely to report a suicide attempt a year later.
The study of 3,300 Chinese teens is published in JAMA Pediatrics. The researchers found teens’ suicide risk was more than tripled if they abused opiates.
Overall, fewer than 3 percent of teens in the study reported misusing any prescription drugs, including 1.8 percent who said they misused opiates or stimulants, and 1 percent who said they abused sedatives.
Many pharmacists are not using monitoring systems designed to reduce prescription drug abuse, a study of Maine pharmacists suggests.
The study found only 56 percent of those surveyed used their state system.
Most states have prescription drug monitoring systems, which are electronic databases that track prescriptions for controlled substances, including opioids. Health care providers can check the database to identify potential cases of prescription drug misuse.
“We have resources to help tackle the opioid epidemic, but we’re underusing them,” said researcher Stephanie Nichols of the Husson University School of Pharmacy, in Bangor, Maine.
Maine has had a prescription drug monitoring program in place since 2004, HealthDay reports.
The researchers note that while doctors and other health care providers use the system, it is important for pharmacists to check the database before dispensing opioid painkillers.
“Often, the pharmacist is the ‘last line of defense,’ for patient safety,” Nichols said in a news...
Almost 10 million Americans say they misused opioid medications in 2012-2013, according to a new study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Nonmedical use of prescription opioids more than doubled over a 10-year period, the study found.
The researchers found in 2012-2013, 4.1 percent of the adult population misused prescription opioids, compared with 1.8 percent in 2001-2002. This means they used the drugs without a prescription, or not as prescribed (in greater amounts, more often, or longer than prescribed) in the past year.
The study found that more than 11 percent of adults said they used prescription opioids nonmedically at some point in their lives, compared with 4.7 percent a decade earlier. In addition, 2.1 million adults meet the criteria for prescription opioid addiction.
“The increasing misuse of prescription opioid pain relievers poses a myriad of serious public health consequences,” Nora D. Volkow, MD, Director of the...
A new study of Indiana health professionals suggests some are beginning to change their prescribing and dispensing practices in response to prescription drug abuse in their communities, Forbes reports.
Researchers found dentists are much less likely than other health professionals to be concerned about prescription drug abuse.
Pharmacists, physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants were more concerned than dentists, the Georgia State University researchers found.
They surveyed almost 6,000 health professionals in Indiana.
The study revealed the majority said they were very concerned about prescription drug abuse. One-third of respondents said they have changed their prescribing behavior in the past few years. Most said they have reduced the frequency with which they are prescribing painkillers and other addictive substances, the article notes.A minority of respondents, mainly dentists, said they were relatively unconcerned about prescription drug abuse in their community.
“The most interesting finding, in my opinion, is the remarkable variation in...