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.