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.
Prescription drug abuse is a serious public health problem and ranks as the second most common class of illicit drugs abused in the United States. The problem needs a renewed attention as there has been a massive rise in prescription drug misuse in recent times. A new study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that there has been a dramatic rise in the misuse and emergency room visits related to the number of prescriptions for stimulant Adderall among young adults.
According to the study, published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in February 2016, young adults mostly aged 18-25 were found to take the drug inappropriately, without a prescription. The study was based on three separate sets of data, including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Drug Abuse Warning Network and the National Disease and Therapeutic Index. Over the six-year study period, the researchers didn’t find any changes in treatment visits involving Adderall, but they recorded a 67 percent increase in non-medical use of Adderall and a 156 percent rise in emergency room visits.
“The growing problem is among young adults,” says study co-author Ramin Mojtabai, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., a professor of mental health at the Bloomberg School. “In college, especially, these drugs are used as study-aid medication to help students stay up all night and cram. Our sense is that a sizeable proportion of those who use them believe these medications make them smarter and more capable of studying. We need to educate this group that there could be serious adverse effects from taking these drugs and we don’t know much at all about their long-term health effects.”
However, researchers strongly believe that drugs like Adderall should be monitored carefully to reduce incidences of diversion arising from people taking the medication that is legitimately prescribed to someone else. Mojtabai is of the view that physicians need to be more aware of what is happening and take appropriate steps to prevent it from continuing.
According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 15.7 million people aged 12 or older used prescription drugs non-medically in a year prior to the survey. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the following categories of prescription drugs are often misused:
Adderall, an amphetamine used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is the brand name for dextroamphetamine. The drug has become common among high school and college students as it can improve focus to provide a competitive edge in their studies. While this medication may seem like a miracle drug to teens or adults, its long-term abuse can lead to a substance use disorder.
For patients who are more likely to overdose, it can also cause sleep disruption and serious cardiovascular side effects, such as high blood pressure and stroke. Also, abruptly stopping the medication increases the risk for mental health problems, including depression, bipolar disorder and aggressive or hostile behavior.
It’s critical that the patient understands the potential risks associated with the long-term use of prescription drugs. Educating patients about prescription drug abuse is an important step toward preventing big health issues in the future. A person should also inform his physician about his medical history and other medicines or supplements being taken.
If you or your loved one is struggling with prescription drug abuse, you may approach the Colorado Prescription Abuse Helpline for the right help. You may call our 24/7 helpline number 866-922-5915 or chat online for further information.