Prescription medication abuse is the intentional use of a medication without a prescription, in a way other than as prescribed, or for the experience or feeling it causes (for the “high”). It is a problem that deserves attention, especially from healthcare professionals. While prescription drugs can be powerful healing tools, they also pose serious health risks related to their abuse.32
In 2019, 5.3 million Americans aged 12 or older (1.9%) had used prescription drugs nonmedically in the past month.34,35 There were approximately 2 million persons aged 12 or older who used psychotherapeutics nonmedically for the first time within the past year.47 The class of prescription drugs most commonly abused is opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin® or OxyContin®.51,53
Prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) medications account for most of the commonly abused drugs by high school seniors (Figure 10). After alcohol and marijuana, Rx and OTC medications are the most commonly abused substances by Americans aged 14 and older. When asked how prescription narcotics were obtained for nonmedical use, 70% of 12th graders said they were given to them by a friend or relative.32
There are several factors that contribute to prescription drug abuse:
Your session is about to expire. Do you want to continue logged in?
WARNING! You did not finish creating your certificate. Please click CONTINUE below to return to your previous page to complete the process. Failure to complete ALL the steps will result in a loss of this test score, and you will not receive credit for this course.