Abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise

A recent article in the UCLA health system magazine Vital Signs talks about the increased prevalence of prescription drug abuse.

Apparently, at 20%, prescription drugs are now the most commonly abused group of substances after alcohol and marijuana. With the same prevalence among teens, this is certainly a concern.

The article notes a few indicators of abuse, though for those knowledgeable in addiction matters, there are no surprises on this list:

  • Increasing dose or frequency without consulting doctors (sign of tolerance).
  • Going to different doctors for same medication (spending a lot of time getting or using the drug).
  • Getting medications from sources other than physicians (such as illegal sources).
  • Stealing medications from friends and family (interrupting social functioning).
  • Continuing to use the medication despite adverse consequences.

The article goes on to describe possible treatments, but the most interesting suggestion was the inclusion of drug-testing in physicians’ offices and the use of national databases to keep track of the medication that people have and are being prescribed.

Good ideas.

One response to “Abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise”

  1. I agree about the in-office drug testing. I think also that mandatory drug testing should become a part of high school physicals, required for participation in sports. Especially given the prevalence of use among teens and college students.

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