National Drug Facts Week – Prescription Drugs

According to National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW) information;  The misuse of opioids and other prescription drugs is a serious problem in the United States which we know and it has escalated in recent years to the level of public health crisis. Misuse includes use of a medication in ways or amounts other than intended by a doctor, by someone other than for whom it is prescribed, or for the experience or feeling it causes. New statistics from the 2016 NSDUH Survey show that over 18.5 million persons 12 and older have misused prescription drugs in the past year.

According to NIDA’s annual Monitoring the Future survey, when asked how they obtained prescription opioids, a majority of the 12th graders surveyed said they were given the drugs or they bought them from a friend or relative. These statistics are particularly worrisome as youth who misuse prescription medications are more likely to report use of other drugs.

According to the most recent 2015 PAYS (Pennsylvania Youth Survey) which is administered with youth in 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades; Prescription Narcotics are used primarily to manage pain, but are also sought after for the accompanying euphoria.  The number of opioid prescriptions received by patients seeks pain treatment has nearly doubled in the last decade.  In the survey, students were asked:  How many times (if any) have you used prescription pain relievers (such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, or Codeine) without a doctor’s orders, in your lifetime/during the past 30 days?  As you can see from the chart, our county has a higher average than the state average.

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