Prescription drug abuse up in US

    The annual drug abuse survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 2.8 percent of the US population used prescription drugs in non-medical ways in 2009 – up from 2.5 percent.

    The annual drug abuse survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 2.8 percent of the US population used prescription drugs in non-medical ways in 2009 – up from 2.5 percent.

    Local drug treatment experts say they have seen a steady increase in prescription drug abuse in recent years, especially heavy duty pain killers.
    Dr. William Lorman of the Livengrin Foundation which provides addiction treatment says the profile of people abusing these drugs has also changed:

    Lorman: It used to be that the majority of the active addicts were between the ages of 35 and 45. Now we’re seeing that it’s much younger, in the teenage years, and much older, into the geriatric years.

    Lorman says many addicts don’t get these medications from doctors. They buy them on the street.

    Micke Brown from the American Pain Foundation says her organization has just completed a national survey of physicians on the issue of prescribing opiates. She says the organization is launching a new effort educating both doctors and patients on simple safety measures:

    Brown: Watch over them like you’d watch over your valuable jewelry, for example, and if you are no longer using this medicine, they need to be disposed of properly

    Brown says her organization is also hoping to strengthen national registries which would allow physicians to check if a patient is getting pain medications from other doctors.

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