Rx Drug Abuse Is on the Increase, HHS Reports

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

New research suggests a disturbingtrend toward prescription drug abuseamong the nation's teenagers?a developmentthat health officials saycould create new opportunities forpharmacists to counsel youths andtheir parents about the dangers ofrecreational Rx drug use.

Although the reported use of "streetdrugs" such as marijuana, LSD, andecstasy has dropped, the latest resultsfrom the government's National Surveyon Drug Use and Health found a5% rise in recreational Rx drug use byindividuals age 12 and over, and a15% increase in Rx abuse by 18- to 25-year-olds.

Much of the abuse involved prescriptionpainkillers such as Vicodin,Lortab, and Lorcet, but the researchersalso reported significant misuse of psychotherapeuticmedications.

"There were 6.3 million persons currentlyusing prescription medicationsnonmedically in 2003, about 2.7% ofthe population aged 12 or older," anofficial at the Department of Healthand Human Services said. "Of these, anestimated 4.7 million used prescriptionpain relievers; 1.8 million used tranquilizers;1.2 million used stimulants,including methamphetamines; and 0.3million used sedatives."