By Staff Writer
The times of rampant cocaine addiction are largely over. These days, experts say the most pressing drug problem facing the nation is the unchecked abuse of prescription medications. This has increased dramatically over the course of the last few years, and government officials say they must start to attack the problem.
Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, told CNN that easy access to powerful prescription medications and the perception that these pills are not harmful are two of the leading causes of the painkiller addiction epidemic.
Given the fact that the drugs are provided by a medical professional, he said that individuals often feel that the pills are safe to take, even recreationally. This is how many people get hooked. Additionally, some of those who are prescribed opiate painkillers following an accident or surgery leave unused pills in their medicine cabinets, making them a target for abuse.
Kerlikowske told the news source that addressing these two factors could be key to winning the nation’s battle against prescription drug addiction.
The problem is particularly troubling among teens. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, just under 10 percent of high school seniors have used prescription drugs recreationally.