Prescription drug abuse is the intentional use of a medication without a prescription; in a way other than prescribed; or for the feeling it causes. (NIDA)
Prescription drug abuse is a national epidemic.
- 12 million Americans abused prescription painkillers in 2009. (CDC)
- Enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for a month. (CDC)
- Prescription painkillers killed nearly 15,000 people in the US in 2008. (CDC) They killed more people than street drugs. In Florida and many other states they caused more deaths than motor vehicle accidents.
- Pain meds (e.g., Oxycontin) are the most abused prescriptions. Also commonly abused are depressants (e.g., Xanax), stimulants (e.g., Adderall), and over-the-counter meds for cough (e.g., DXM), allergy, sleep, weight-loss and motion sickness. (NIDA)