Prescription Drug Abuse
Over the course of the past two decades, rates of prescription drug abuse have been on the rise throughout the U.S. Prescription drug abuse refers to taking a prescription other than as prescribed by a medical professional, or taking medication without a written prescription in order to produce a high (or another desired effect). There are three types of prescription medication that are commonly abused, including prescription opioids, stimulants and central nervous system depressants (tranquilizers or sedatives). According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA0, abusing prescription medications can result in a range of serious consequences, from physical and psychological dependence to emergency room visits and overdose-related death. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have increased more than five times from 1999 to 2016. NIDA also reported that during the year 2017 an estimated 18 million Americans over the age of 12 engaged in prescription drug abuse. The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that roughly 2 million Americans abused prescription painkillers for the first time, 1.5 million abused prescription tranquilizers, 1 million abused prescription stimulants for the first time and there were more than 271,000 new cases of prescription sedative misuse reported. Overall, prescription drug abuse is one of the largest public health threats the country currently faces.