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Prescription drug abuse rates are rapidly increasing in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the U.S. makes up only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet it is responsible for the consumption of 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs. Abuse of prescription drugs occurs who the drug is taken in a manner other than its intended purpose such as to get high.

Prescription drug abuse can take over someone's life if help isn't found. It doesn’t have to be this way though. For those who are struggling with prescription drug abuse and addiction, help is only a phone call away.

01-28 Prescription drugs: Who is more likely to abuse?

Posted in Drug addiction, Prescription drug abuse by Rachael - 0 Comments
Prescription drugs: Who is more likely to abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is not only dangerous, in some cases it can even prove to be fatal. It is the misuse of prescription medication irrespective of a doctor’s recommendation. That is why, having the proper information about prescription drugs, specifically about the dangers of misuse of prescription drugs can make a world of a difference.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already declared prescription drug abuse as an epidemic in the U.S. Most of the deaths in the country involving prescription painkillers or opioids are due to its overdose.

President Barack Obama, in his eighth and final State of the Union address on January 12, reiterated that dealing with the burning issue of prescription drug and heroin abuse was one of his priorities. Nearly 60 percent of Americans — the highest ever — were taking prescription drugs, said a report by the Washington Post in 2015.

So, who’s more likely to abuse prescription drugs? Studies have shown that certain individuals or groups have a higher chance of abusing prescription drugs than others. The following are at the highest risk of misusing prescription drugs:

Young women

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) states that even though both men and women have roughly the same likelihood for abusing prescription drugs, women in the age group of 12 to 17 are more likely to abuse prescription drugs than men at the same age. This is a very critical age for women, a stage when they are developing both physically and mentally, and prescription drugs usually become the solution to their pain or unhappiness.

Teenagers and young adults

This age group is at a greater risk of abusing prescription drugs such as pain relievers, stimulants or anti-anxiety medication. These drugs are quite common and are most frequently prescribed. Due to this reason, teenagers believe that these drugs are not as dangerous as illegal drugs. In addition, they have easy access to the drugs due to the high probability of their parents having at least one prescription drug at home. What poses a great threat is the lethal combination of prescription drugs and alcohol, which places teenagers in a great danger of an accidental overdose.


The elderly usually have various medical issues, or they suffer from mild or severe mental disorders. Therefore, they are frequently prescribed medication, which by accident or on purpose can be consumed in higher quantities and frequently, according to Mayo Clinic. Seniors also show a tendency to consume prescription drugs with alcohol, which can be fatal for them.

Healthcare workers

According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people associated with the healthcare sector, specifically physicians, nurses, and pharmacists who have easy access to prescriptions on the job may be at risk for prescription drug abuse.

Other risk factors that influence the likelihood of abusing prescription drugs and developing addiction are:

  1. Past addiction to drugs or alcohol
  2. Family history of substance abuse
  3. Lack of proper knowledge of prescription drugs and their potentially lethal effects
  4. Several, pre-existing mental disorders
  5. Easy access to drugs at home

According to the CDC, 44 people in the U.S. die from overdose of prescription painkillers every day, and many more become addicted. If you or a loved one is seeking recovery from prescription drug addiction, the Colorado Prescription Abuse Helpline is a resource where people who struggle during and after addiction can seek out support. Call us at 866-922-5915.