Past year nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers among people aged 12 or older, by race/ethnicity: 2013
Misuse of prescription drugs is second only to marijuana use as the nation's most commonly used illicit drug.1 Pain reliever misuse is a public health concern, with approximately 24 million persons initiating nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers since 2002.2 According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 4.2 percent of Americans aged 12 or older engaged in nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers in the past year.3 In comparison to the national average, nonmedical pain reliever use was less common among Asian Americans (1.8 percent).
The rate of nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers among Asian Americans was lower than rates for whites (4.3 percent), blacks (3.6 percent), American Indian or Alaska Natives (6.9 percent), two or more races (8.1 percent), or Hispanics (4.5 percent). Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders do not have the same low prevalence of nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers as the Asian community although they are often grouped together. Past year nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers among Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders (3.9 percent) did not differ from the national average or the other race/ethnic groups.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides information on what communities and local governments can do to help prevent overdoses and deaths related to prescription drug misuse (see https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Opioid-Overdose-Prevention-Toolkit-Updated-2014/SMA14-4742). For more information on the misuse of prescription medications, see https://www.samhsa.gov/prescription-drug-misuse-abuse