Prescription Drug Addiction Statistics
There is a growing prescription drug problem in America. In 2017, 18 million people reported misusing prescription medications at least once in the past year, which is roughly 6% of the population of people aged 12 or older.
Prescription drug abuse statistics show that anyone at any age can be affected by misuse and addiction. Statistics show that 14.4% of young adults (18 to 25 years old) reported misusing prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. In addition, 4.9% of youth (12 to 17 years old) reported misuse as well. While alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are most commonly used by 12th graders, prescription drugs are also being taken. In a study of high school seniors in 2017, 6% were found to have misused the prescription stimulant Adderall, and 2% reported misusing the opioid pain reliever Vicodin. Misusing prescription drugs at a young age can also influence the use of other drugs in young adulthood, such as alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and cocaine.
Older adults are also at risk for prescription drug addiction. Patients aged 57 to 85 typically take the most prescription medications. Research shows that 80% of older adults use at least one prescription daily, and more than 50% take five or more medications a day. Due to the greater amount of prescriptions being taken, older adults are at a higher risk of misusing them and potentially developing an addiction. Other reasons for their risk include higher rates of comorbid chronic illnesses, slower drug metabolism, and potential drug interactions.
Prescription Drugs in Florida
Florida has often been labeled as the center of the prescription drug epidemic. Pain clinics, known as “pill mills,” are commonly found in Florida. Here, doctors write and fill prescriptions for opioid pain relievers much more than necessary. To get to these pill mills, people will take a trip down the “oxy express,” a nickname given to Interstate 75.
Doctors in Florida prescribed more opioids per 100 persons than the U.S. average from 2006 (79.7) to 2011 (87.6). This number decreased to its lowest point in 2017, at 60.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people. To combat growing prescription drug misuse, Florida created the Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation (E-FORCSE) in 2009. The drug monitoring program states that it “…is an initiative to encourage safer prescribing of controlled substances and to reduce drug abuse and diversion within the state of Florida.” Since its establishment, opioid prescriptions have continued to decline in Florida.