- Recent United States Geological Survey studies have found traces of painkillers, estrogen, antidepressants, blood-pressure medicines, etc. in water samples from 30 states. Studies have linked hormone exposure to reproductive defects in fish, and environmental exposure to antibiotics to the development of drug-resistant germs.
- The study, Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Involving Abuse of Pain Relievers 1998-2008, conducted by the SAMHSA, and based on the agency’s Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) reveals a 400 percent increase between 1998 and 2008 of substance abuse treatment admissions for those aged 12 and over reporting abuse of prescription pain relievers. The increase in the percentage of admissions abusing pain relievers spans every age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, employment level, and region. The study also shows a more than tripling of pain reliever abuse among patients who needed treatment for opioid dependence.
- A recent study by the Associated Press found trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in at least 46 million Americans.
- The age-old advice of flushing pharmaceuticals down the toilet is now considered to be the least desirable of all alternatives.
- Nearly 7 million Americans are abusing prescription drugs: More than the number who are abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy, and inhalants, combined. That 7 million was just 3.8 million in 2000, an 80 percent increase in just 6 years.
- 8500 Deaths
Prescription drug abuse, a fast-growing problem that killed more than 8,500 Americans in 2005, according to the latest available statistics from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
- Prescription pain relievers are new drug users’ drug of choice, vs. marijuana or cocaine.
- Opioid painkillers now cause more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.
- Nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors admits to abusing powerful prescription painkillers. A shocking 40 percent of teens and an almost equal number of their parents think abusing prescription painkillers is safer than abusing “street” drugs.
- Misuse of painkillers represents three-fourths of the overall problem of prescription drug abuse; hydrocodone is the most commonly diverted and abused controlled pharmaceutical in the U.S.
- Twenty-five percent of drug-related emergency department visits are associated with abuse of prescription drugs.
- Methods of acquiring prescription drugs for abuse include “doctor-shopping,” traditional drug-dealing, theft from homes, illicitly acquiring prescription drugs via the Internet, and from friends or relatives.
- 1 in 5 teens has abused a prescription (Rx) pain medication.
- 1 in 5 report abusing prescription stimulants and tranquilizers.
- Over 80% of waterways tested in the U.S. show traces of common medications.
- A recent take-back program in San Francisco found the average household had 2.7 pounds of unwanted or expired drugs.