Prescription Drug Misuse Second to One

Prescription drug misuse continues to be one of the nation’s most prevalent illicit drug problems.  It is second only to marijuana.  According to a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 22 million people in the US have initiated nonmedical pain reliever use since 2002.  SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde believes the data which indicates geographic variations in use from state to state, “should help with the development of more targeted and effective prevention and treatment programs.”

The data from the report indicates that states in the western region of the country have some of the highest rates of nonmedical use of prescription drug pain relievers (7 out of the top 10 states).  While states in the Midwest and South were among the 10 states with the lowest rates.

SAMHSA has several programs designed to address prescription drug misuse, including its Prevention of Prescription Abuse in the Workplace contract which provides technical assistance to help civilian and military workplaces in communities across America reduce prescription drug abuse problems.

Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers in the Past Year among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Quintile and State: 2010-2011

Highest Rates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers
Oregon – 6.37%
Colorado – 6.00%
Washington – 5.75%
Idaho – 5.73%
Indiana – 5.68%
Arizona – 5.66%
Nevada – 5.62%
Delaware – 5.61%
Arkansas – 5.55%
New Mexico – 5.45%

Lowest Rates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers
Illinois – 4.07%
Florida – 4.05%
North Carolina – 4.00%
New York – 3.98%
Hawaii – 3.90%
Maryland – 3.89%
North Dakota – 3.84%
Georgia – 3.79%
South Dakota – 3.69%
Iowa – 3.62%




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