Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics [Infographic]

Prescription drug abuse is a significant problem in the United States. According to SAMHSA, while marijuana is the most commonly used controlled substance, prescription drugs are second on the list. While opioids are the most pressing issue regarding the abuse of prescription drugs, Americans regularly abuse other types of prescriptions as well. Prescription drug abuse statistics can reveal a lot about the scale of the problem.

Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment

Abuse of Prescription Pain Relievers

SAMHSA reports that about 91.8 million American adults used prescription pain relievers, including opioids, in 2015. That number is over one-third of the adult population. Clearly, the use of prescription pain relievers is pervasive in our culture.

Of those that used the pain relievers, 12.5% admitted to misusing the substance at least once within the past year. Experts define misuse as using a drug in a way that goes against the prescriber’s instructions on the label, or using drugs that a doctor prescribed to someone else. While the percentage of people that misuse their pain relievers may seem small, it amounts to 11.5 million people. That’s certainly not insignificant.

The most popular reason for the misuse of prescription pain relievers was to relieve physical pain. Even though this is the intended purpose of the drug, it’s still considered abuse to use the substance in an off-label way.

Misuse of Other Prescription Drugs

While the abuse of prescription pain relievers is the most significant problem, prescription drug abuse statistics show that Americans commonly abuse other types of drugs, too. For example, in 2015, about 5.7 million adults admitted to misusing prescription tranquilizers at least once within the last year. This category of drugs includes benzodiazepines like Xanax, as well as muscle relaxers. Tranquilizers being depressants, respondents most commonly cited the desire to relax as the reason behind their off-label use.

Sedatives are another example of depressant prescription drugs. Their most common use is to improve the quality of sleep in those who have insomnia. Of the 18 million adults that reported using a sedative in 2015, 1.4 million of them misused them, usually to help with sleep.

On the other side of the coin are prescription stimulants, which people most often abuse to stay awake or increase alertness. Of the 15.4 million adults that used prescription stimulants, 4.8 million of them reported misusing their prescription at least once.

What Do These Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics Mean?

The biggest takeaway from these statistics is that while abuse of prescription pain relievers is the most significant issue regarding prescription drug abuse, people should not ignore the misuse of other types of prescriptions. The number of people that admit to abusing prescriptions of all kinds is significant. It’s important to know these prescription drug statistics to get drug abusers the help that they need.

Help for Prescription Drug Abuse

If you or a loved one is one of the millions of Americans that struggle with prescription drug abuse, prescription drug addiction rehab is available at Driftwood Recovery. Our drug rehab programs include:

  • Xanax addiction rehab
  • Opioid addiction rehab
  • Opiate addiction rehab
  • Benzo addiction rehab
  • Morphine addiction rehab

Don’t put off reaching out for help. Without the guidance of trained professionals, issues with addiction only get worse. Call Driftwood Recovery today at 866-426-4694 to learn more about how our programs can help you.