In 2006, 16.2 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for non-medical purposes at least once in the year according to SAMHSA. The drug abuse of medications is clearly growing among the other drug abused substances. Lack of awareness and easy accessibility are the main reasons for the growth of the prescription drug abuse among the various sections of the community.
Prescription medications such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives are very useful treatment tools, but sometimes people do not take them as directed or they be dispensed incorrectly and people become addicted. Lack of awareness and ignorance of the fact that they might get addicted or become vulnerable to side effects is the main cause of the abuse among the patients use prescribed medications. In many cases, self medication among the family members, relatives or friends of the patients leads to misuse of the medications by taking them without consulting a doctor for the treatment for their health problems.
Elderly people are at a higher risk for prescription drug abuse because they are generally prescribed more medicines than their younger counterparts. Similar to elderly people, women are prescribed more medications rather than their male counterparts. They are much more likely than men to be prescribed drugs that can be abused. Prescription drug misuse/abuse among older women is a serious problem that has not received proper attention and often ignored by health professionals.
When it comes to the younger people, lack of awareness about the danger involved in abusing the prescription drugs is the main reason of abuse before addiction. Many think that, as those are prescribed by the doctors, they are safe. Initially they steel prescription drugs from their family members or get through their friends or relatives. That is actually one of the newest past times for teens, to steal prescription medications from their own home. Easy accessibility is also one of the main reasons for the abuse. Younger people have many sources than any other section of people to get the desired prescription medications like Vicodin, Oxycontins, morphine and methadone. Friends, doctors, relatives, drug stores and online pharmacies are the most common sources for prescription drugs.
Parents are less likely to talk to their children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse than they are about heroin, cocaine, crack, MDMA, marijuana, or alcohol abuse. Although the dangers of prescription drug abuse are generally understood by parents, relatively few of them discuss with their teenage children. There is a complete misconception surround prescription drug abuse that sends the message that if it comes from the doctor that it must be safe. Vicodin addict vs. heroin junkie, which one sounds better? The truth is that there is no difference at all. However, it might be a bit difficult to convince most people of that because of that misconception about prescription drugs. For many, Vicodin just sounds cleaner so there is a better chance that is can be justified.