New Report Highlights Prescription Drug Abuse Problem

By Staff Writer

Opiate medications are now the most commonly prescribed class of pain relievers in the U.S., according to a new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The authors of the paper say that this is largely to blame for the opiate addiction crisis that continues to worsen.

More than 200 million prescriptions for opiate pain relievers were filled in 2009, according to the report. This represents a dramatic increase in prescribing rates of past years.

The Center for Substance Abuse Solution experts who composed the paper said that working to reduce the number of opiate prescriptions given to teens and young adults may be a good place to start addressing the problem. This age group is the most likely to abuse medications, yet they are given nearly 12 percent of all opiate prescriptions.

Given the fact that prescription medication overdose now ranks as the second leading cause of accidental death, the authors said that something needs to be done soon. The number of people admitted to drug rehab facilities for addiction to these substances increased fivefold in the last 10 years.