Rise in Prescription Pain Pill Abuse Documented in Latest SAMHSA Data

Abuse of prescription pain medications continues to rise, according to the latest data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The agency’s Treatment Episode Data Set showed that the proportion of substance abuse treatment admissions for individuals aged 12 and older rose 400% from 1998 to 2008. SAMHSA data also showed an increase in emergency room visits involving the non-medical use of a prescription narcotic pain reliever, which have tripled in proportion since 1998. SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde, JD, stressed that the non-medical use of prescription pain relievers is now the second most prevalent from of illicit drug use. Hyde emphasized the importance of raising awareness about this public health threat and educating the public on the “critical importance of properly using, storing, and disposing of these powerful drugs” as reported in a SAMHSA press release.