Key Prescription Drug Addiction Statistics

Prescription drug addiction is becoming a major problem in America. Prescription drugs are being prescribed for a wider variety of reasons and quite frequently, greatly increasing the chances that they will be misused. There are several disturbing prescription drug addiction statistics that are worth mentioning.

One sad prescription drug addiction statistic reported by the U.S. Department of Health and human services is that people 60 years old and up are the age group most likely to be addicted to prescription drugs. Furthermore, as of 2000, over 17% of people over age 60 abuse prescription drugs, many of them doing so unwittingly.

Another disturbing prescription drug statistic is that prescription drug abuse is rising fastest among people 12 to 25. Since the mid 1980’s, prescription drug abuse has increased fivefold. One reason for this is that many young people believe that prescription drugs are safe alternatives to illegal drugs. Many of these people don’t know that prescription drugs are addictive and can lead to serious health problems if misused. It is reported that females are more likely to abuse and become addicted to prescription drugs than males are in this age group.

While most people who are addicted to prescription drugs abuse opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin, the number of young people who abused CNS (central nervous system) depressants rose by 50% in just one year, between 1999 and 2000.

The illegal sale of prescription drugs has increased enormously in recent years. The vast increase in the availability of prescription drugs increases the numbers of addicts, because more people have access to the drugs. Modern computer technology makes it very difficult for the authorities to track down operators of websites that sell prescription drugs over the Internet without requiring a prescription.

These prescription drug addiction statistics are disheartening, but the more people are aware of the problems caused by prescription drug addiction, the more likely they are to avoid misusing them or seek help if they already have a problem.