One of the fastest-growing drug trends in the United States isn’t teenagers smoking pot or young adults on ecstasy at dance clubs, but abuse and misuse of legal prescription drugs.
According to a study that Quest Diagnostics released last month, 63% of patients misused their prescription drugs. The study was based on nearly 76,000 laboratory tests for monitoring prescription drug use, and the company said the findings suggested many Americans take prescription drugs in ways that put their health at risk, including missing doses and combining medications without a doctor’s oversight.
In terms of illegal abuse of prescription drugs, a government study also released last month found that more than 70% of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them from friends or relatives, and usually with the patient’s consent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about three-quarters of all deaths from drug overdoses result from prescription drugs, mostly opioid painkillers.