A January 2013 report revealed a disturbing statistic: Nationally, roughly 1 in 22, or 4.57 percent, of people aged 12 and older reported having used pain relievers non-medically in the past year. Texas fares slightly better with a rate of 4.33 percent, placing our state at 17th lowest in the country in our rate of abuse.
Still, this is a grave public health concern. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that the highest rate of prescription drug abuse occurs in the young adult population. Nationally, 10.43 percent of this group reported misuse of the drugs in 2010-2011 compared to 9.21 percent of Texas’ young adults. In Texas’ 12-17 age group, the rate is 6.03 percent.
Experts have raised many contributors fueling this epidemic. Patients may be more likely to misperceive the safety of these medications since they’re prescribed by doctors and take them under circumstances not recommended by their physician. Also, prescriptions for stimulants and opioids have increased dramatically and are more readily available. Some physicians have said they feel pressure to get high patient satisfaction scores and are more likely now than in previous decades to strive to eliminate pain in their patients rather than conservatively manage it. And, patients more frequently seek out these now well-known medications, whether because they feel they will better treat anxiety, pain, sleep problems, or enhance focus, or for deviant purposes.more