Survey - Non-Medical Use of Pain Pills on the Rise in Baby Boomers

In 2007, a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found that 4.1% of baby boomers misuse prescription medications. This year’s survey suggests that figure is on the rise.

Younger people fared better on the survey which showed prescription drug abuse rates are lower, as well as tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use, such as cocaine, marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and hallucinogens. Cocaine use dropped by 23% in 18 to 25 year olds. The survey included 67,500 people across the United States. People who experienced a major depressive episode were twice as likely in 2007 to have illicitly used drugs.

SAMHSA administrator Terry Cline, PhD says, "The abuse of prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons is of increasing concern. "These are potent drugs that can have serious and life-threatening consequences if misused. Parents in particular need to be aware of this problem and take steps to prevent these medications from falling into the wrong hands." However, the survey did find improvements in drug misuse among young people, with the worse abuse among those aged 55 to 59 years.

According to director of the national drug control policy, John Walters, “The markets for these poisons are shrinking, and the deadly grip they hold on the lives of individuals, families, and communities is being countered. "But when it comes to prescription drugs, we cannot afford to relive the painful experiences we’ve had with illegal drugs. We must act quickly to increase awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse, decrease the illegal diversion of these products, and shore up safer practices for their prescription and distribution."

The estimated rise in non-medical prescription use is 12% when compared to last year. Michael Leavitt, the secretary of Health and Human Services voiced concerns regarding the recognition of substance abuse by healthcare providers, though some progress has been made with the declines seen with youths. He stresses the importance of early treatment for those who are at risk.

If you, or someone you know has a substance abuse problem, seek professional help. This month is:

National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month

Just click on the link for help, or to get involved.