The Problem

Nationwide Epidemic

Deaths

Nationwide Epidemic

Additional Statistics:

  • Deaths related to prescription painkiller use increased 313 percent over the past decade.1
  • Of all the drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2013, a majority (almost 52%) were related to prescription drugs.2
  • More people die from prescription drug overdoses than from car accidents or overdoses of street drugs such as cocaine or heroin.3

Access and Treatment

Nationwide Epidemic

Additional Statistics:

  • Pharmacists dispense enough prescription painkillers  every year to supply each American with a pill to take every four hours, around the clock, for a month.4
  • Prescription painkiller-related treatment admission rates increased 400 percent from 2000 to 2010.1
  • Admission rates for treatment of prescription drug abuse or excessive use increased every year from  2000 to 2010.1

Kids and Teens

Nationwide Epidemic

Additional Statistics:

  • Among children younger than 6, prescription drugs account for about 40 percent of all exposures reported to poison centers.2
  • About 1-in-5 12th graders report abusing or improperly using a prescription medicine at least once.6
  • 38 percent of teens who have misused or abused prescription medicine took it from a parent’s medicine cabinet.7
  • Almost half of teens who have misused or abused prescription medicine obtained it from a friend.8

Young Adults

Nationwide Epidemic

Additional Statistics:

  • 96 percent of young adults who abuse prescription  stimulants believe their friends abuse prescription stimulants as well.9
  • 57 percent of young adults who abuse prescription stimulants say the last time they did so, they got the drug from a friend.9
  • 28 percent of young adults who have been legally prescribed stimulants share their medicine with friends.9
  • 52 percent of young adults who have been legally prescribed stimulants say they’ve been pressured by friends into selling or sharing their medicine.9

Pollution

Nationwide Epidemic

Additional Statistic:

  • Pharmaceutical residues have been detected in the drinking water of 24 major metropolitan areas across the country serving 46 million people.11

Sources

  1. “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS). 2000-2010. National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services, DASIS Series: S-61, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4701, Rockville, MD; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012. Accessed at Clinical Challenges in Opioid Prescribing: Balancing Safety & Efficacy, Peer Assistance Services.
  2. “http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/overdose/facts.html,” updated 1/9/2015.
  3. Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention brochure, April 2014.
  4. http://www.corxconsortum.org/
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH): National Findings.
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs. 2014.
  7. “The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, Teens & Parents 2013,” Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, page 18.
  8. The Partnership at Drugfree.org & MetLife Foundation. (2012). Partnership Attitude Tracking Study.
  9. “New Survey: Misuse and Abuse of Prescription Stimulants Becoming Normalized Behavior Among College Students, Young Adults,” Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 11/13/14.
  10. “AN AP INVESTIGATION: Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water. The Associated Press. http://www.hotsted.ap.org/specials/interactives/pharmawater_site/ Accessed on February 2, 2015.
  11. Pharmaceuticals, Hormones, and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in U.S. Streams: USGS Fact Sheet F5-027-02, June 2002. U.S. Geological Survey Website. http://www.toxics.usgs.gov/pubs/F5-027-2/ Updated May 6, 2014. Accessed February 2, 2015.