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Latest SAMHSA Data Shows Prescription Drug Abuse Rates Still High, Meth Use is Down

Topics: Prescription drug abuse

An estimated 7 million people used prescription drugs nonmedically in 2009 and 2010, second only to rates of marijuana use, according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The NSDUH, a survey conducted annually by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), shows that among the 7 million people using prescription drugs nonmedically:

  • 5.1 million used pain relievers nonmedically,
  • 2.2 million used tranquilizers nonmedically,
  • 1.1 million used stimulants nonmedically, and
  • 374,000 used sedatives nonmedically.

According to the survey, over 50% of people using prescription drugs nonmedically got them from friends or family for free. Further, just over 70% of people using prescription pain relievers nonmedically in 2009-2010 got them from friends or family as follows:

  • 55% got the pain relievers from a friend or relative for free
  • 11.4% bought the pain relievers from a friend or relative
  • 4.8% took the pain relievers from a friend or relative without asking

While rates of nonmedical use of prescription drugs remain the same, comparisons of data obtained from 2006 to 2010, showed a decrease in the number of past month methamphethamine users, from 731,000 in 2006 to 353,000 in 2010. The full report is available for download from the SAMHSA Web site.