By now, there should be no secret that the abuse of prescription drugs has become a full fledged epidemic, but for some, it still is. Not only are these people unaware of the epidemic of prescription drug abuse, they are unknowingly contributing to it.
In terms of the number of deaths caused by an overdose, this type of drug abuse has already become more dangerous than the combination of cocaine and heroin. The market for these drugs has also increased so much that gangs are beginning to get involved, which increases the violence that surrounds prescription drugs.
The head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration has indicated prescription drug abuse is the greatest drug threat they have ever faced. More than 7 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs.
You Could Be Part of the Problem
One of the big problems inside of this epidemic is that your own medicine cabinet may be contributing to this epidemic. Public perception of the dangers of has not yet caught up to the reality.
The reality is that prescription drugs are beginning to mimic hard-core narcotics trafficking because the abusers eventually need more pills than they can continue to get on their own. Unfortunately, there are some doctors and pharmacists involved in this trafficking as well due to the money involved.
However, the shocking part of the story is that of the people who begin to abuse prescription drugs, more than 70% get their drugs from their friends and family.
The DEA, CDC and FDA are all working to better educate the public, but they have an uphill battle. There was also a $20 million project in the last national budget to provide for a media campaign to educate the public, but this plan was not funded by Congress.
One plan that is in the works is to make it easier for people to dispose of prescription medication they no longer need, instead of letting those drugs sit in their medicine cabinet. If you don’t have the pills, your friends and family can’t ask for them and they can’t be stolen.
How it Starts
When people abuse prescription drugs, they usually start at home. They ask their friends and family to provide them with pills that weren’t prescribed to them.
Fifty-five percent of the “new” people who abuse prescription drugs get their drugs for free from their friends or family. Another 11% of abusers still get their drugs from friends and family, but they pay for them. Five percent used the same source, but just took the pills without those people knowing about it.
That means 71% of the people who begin abusing prescription drugs get them directly from friends and family.
That number drops when those new users turn into chronic abusers. However, 41% of chronic abusers still get their drugs from their friends and family. Another 25% get their drugs from a doctor and a similar number obtain their drugs from dealers or online sources.
This has become a significant problem and it will continue to grow until people understand the dangers of giving their own prescription drugs to other people.