When one thinks of drug abuse, what usually comes to mind are those who use illegal substances. However, much of the drug abuse cases known use prescription drugs. These drugs are usually painkillers, sedatives or some other type that could readily be acquired over the counter.
Many of those who take such drugs abuse them in some way, either taking them without doctor's advice or taking them beyond what's recommended. In the United States, millions of Americans knowingly or unknowingly abuse these types of drugs.
Last year alone, the U.S. government's National Survey on Drug Use asked people about how they use prescription medicine.
The result has been staggering, as it has found out that 119 million Americans take psychotherapeutic drugs. About 19 million of these do not have any prescription at all, according to WAMC. Many who take them were either given to them by family or friends or else were recommended to them.
Of those who do have prescriptions, a number of them still abuse them by going over what has been recommended. The ease by which it could be acquired is one factor why many abuse these types of drugs.
"Just like any drug, the more it's out there, the more it's available, the more likely it is to be abused," Kim Johnson, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said.
There are suggestions to reform the way these drugs are being prescribed. This is particularly true of opioid drugs. The survey has also shown that there is a need for more options in pain management than the reliance on drugs.
It is of course not just prescription drugs abuse that needs to be treated but even the use of street drugs, as Shots has observed.
"We need to expand drug access to treatment and we need to do it now," said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
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