E P I DE M IC:
R E SP ON DI NG T O A M ER ICA’ S
PR E S CR I P T ION
DRUG A BUSE CR I SI S
Prescription drug abuse is the Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. While there has been a marked decrease in the use of some illegal drugs like cocaine, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.1 The same survey found that over 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain relievers got them from friends or relatives, while approximately 5 percent got them from a drug dealer or from the Internet.2 ...view middle of the document...
7 These data offer a compelling description of the extent to which the prescription drug abuse problem in America has grown over the last decade, and should serve to highlight the critical role parents, patients, healthcare providers, and manufacturers play in preventing prescription drug abuse. These realities demand action, but any policy response must be approached thoughtfully, while acknowledging budgetary constraints at the state and Federal levels. The potent medications science has developed have great potential for relieving suffering, as well as great potential for abuse. There are many examples: acute medical pain treatment and humane hospice care for cancer patients would be impossible without prescription opioids; benzodiazepines are the bridge for many people with serious anxiety disorders to begin the process of overcoming their fears; and stimulants have a range of valuable uses across medical fields. Accordingly, any policy in this area must strike a balance between our desire
1. Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH): National Findings, SAMHSA (2010). 2. Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH): National Findings, SAMHSA (2010). 3. University of Michigan, 2009 Monitoring the Future: A Synopsis of the 2009 Results of Trends in Teen Use of Illicit Drugs and Alcohol. 4. 2008 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel, Department of Defense (2009). Available at: http://www.tricare.mil/2008HealthBehaviors.pdf 5. Manchikanti L, Fellow B, Ailinani H, Pampati V. Therapeutic Use, Abuse, and Nonmedical Use of Opioids: A TenYear Perspective. Pain Physician. 13:401-435. 2010. 6. Based on data from SDI, Vector One: National. Years 2000-2009. Extracted June 2010. Available at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/Drugs/AnestheticAndLifeSupport DrugsAdvisoryCommittee/UCM217510.pdf 7. Unintentional Drug Poisoning in the United States, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 2010.
E p i d E m i c : R E s p o n d i n G t o A m E R i c A’ s p R E s c R i p t i o n d R u G A B u s E c R i s i s
to minimize abuse of prescription drugs and the need to ensure access for their legitimate use. Further, expanding effective drug abuse treatment is critical to reducing prescription drug abuse, as only a small fraction of drug users are currently undergoing treatment. This Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan expands upon the Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy and includes action in four major areas to reduce prescription drug abuse: education, moni toring, proper disposal, and enforcement. First, education is critical for the public and for healthcare providers to increase awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and about ways to appropriately dispense, store, and dispose of controlled substance...