Prescription Pain Reliever Abuse Soars

WASHINGTON, July 16 (UPI) — Treatment facility admissions for prescription pain reliever abuse soared more than 400 percent from 1998-2008 for those 12 and over, U.S. officials say.

A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reveals the increase in treatment admissions due to pain reliever abuse occurred among nearly all segments of the population regardless of age, gender, educational level and employment.

Overall, treatment admissions increased from 2.2 percent in 1998 to 9.8 percent in 2008. Among men, the proportion of treatment admissions for prescription pain reliever misuse rose from 1.8 percent in 1998 to 8.1 percent in 2008. Among women, it increased from 3.5 percent in 1998 to 13.3 percent in 2008.

“The non-medical use of prescription pain relievers is now the second-most prevalent form of illicit drug use in the nation and its tragic consequences are seen in substance abuse treatment centers and hospital emergency departments throughout our nation,” Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said in a statement.

“This public health threat demands that we follow the President’s National Drug Control Strategy’s call for an all-out effort to raise awareness of this risk and the critical importance of properly using, storing and disposing of these powerful drugs.”

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