In the United States, the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is a massive problem. Stimulants, CNS depressants and opioids are commonly abused. While most people use prescription medication responsibly, there is still a large percentage who abuse drugs every year. In fact, in 2017, around 18 million people misused prescription medication. Several factors lend themselves to the drug abuse problem in the U.S. While different demographics have different risk factors, the two age groups that are most likely to abuse or misuse prescription drugs are younger people and older adults.
Youth Drug Abuse
The demographic that is most likely to abuse prescription drugs are those aged between 18 and 25. About 14 percent of young people report using prescription drugs for nonmedical use. The leading prescription medications that high school students use regularly are Adderall and Vicodin. Those who misuse prescription drugs are also more likely to experiment with other types of drugs.
Young people who are prescribed opioid medication for a legitimate purpose are more likely to abuse opioids in the future. Even young adults who have no history of drug abuse are more likely to abuse it when prescribed. This is how addictive opioids can be.
Older Adult Drug Abuse
Most older adults take prescription medication. More than 80 percent of people over the age of 57 use more or more medications every day. 50 percent of all older adults take more than five medications or supplements every day. While many of these people take their medication appropriately, this much medication use can lead to unhealthy habits. For instance, someone may start to use the prescription in a way that it was not intended to be used. If you overuse medication, whether it is a prescription medication, over the counter medicine, or herbal supplements, you could have adverse health effects.
Prescription medication misuse is a major problem in the U.S. Some believe that it could have a connection to doctors over-prescribing medications. In other instances, someone may not realize that there is a potential for drug abuse or addiction with certain prescriptions. He or she may not know the dangers of prescription misuse. Many adults may begin with the best of intentions but then end up with a drug abuse problem. If you are worried about a drug abuse case, then you should set up a consultation as soon as possible with a lawyer, like a drug lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols.