Non-medical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers Increases
More and more people are using prescription pain relievers for
non-medical reasons, according to a new SAMHSA report.
The numbers of individuals using prescription pain relievers nonmedically
for the first time increased from 600,000 in 1990 to more than 2
million in 2001.
In 2002, about 1.5 million persons age 12 and older were dependent
on or abused prescription pain relievers, and nearly 30 million
persons in the same age group reported using these medications nonmedically
at some point in their lifetime.
The new report is based on data from SAMHSA's 2002 National Survey
on Drug Use and Health, compiled by the Office of Applied Studies.
Respondents who reported non-medical use of prescription pain relievers
in this survey were also asked to report symptoms of dependence
on or abuse of pain relievers. Responses were analyzed by age, gender,
race and ethnicity, and type of residential location.
According to the report, young adults age 18 to 25 were twice
as likely to use prescription pain relievers nonmedically in their
lifetime as youth age 12 to 17 and adults age 26 and older. Males
were more likely than females to use these pain relievers nonmedically,
and whites were more likely to do so than blacks, Asians, or Hispanics.
According to this report, almost 19 million persons age 12 and
older had used Darvocet®, Darvon®, or Tylenol with Codeine®
nonmedically at least once in their lifetime. Nearly 2 million persons
had used OxyContin® nonmedically at least once in their lifetime.
The survey showed a total of 7.1 million persons age 12 and older
were dependent on or abused illicit drugs. The number of persons
who were dependent on or abused prescription pain relievers (1.5
million) was second only to the number of persons who were dependent
on or abused marijuana (4.3 million).
For a copy of this report, Non-medical
Use of Prescription Pain Relievers, contact SAMHSA's National
Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at P.O. Box 2345,
Rockville, MD 20847-2345. Telephone: 1 (800) 729-6686 (English and
Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD). The report can be viewed on
the SAMHSA Web site at oas.samhsa.gov/2k4/pain/pain.cfm.
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