Prescription Drug Addiction Statistics

Drug Addiction | July 29 , 2020

Prescription Drug Addiction Statistics and Intervention

If you are working with clients who have fallen victim to addiction, you are likely to have an idea of how prescription drugs have taken root in the US in recent years. The following statistics on prescription drug abuse sheds light on just how severe and harmful this current epidemic has turned into.
The signs of prescription drug addiction that you have been educated to identify might not be apparent at first, but a discerning observer may pick up on subtle hints that may give away the addiction problem of the client. Eventually, addiction has a way of influencing every part of a person ‘s life, and it sometimes takes a long journey of recovery and counseling to put an individual back onto one’s feet and to sustain sobriety in the long term.

Five Prescription Drug Addiction Statistics That are Hard to Fathom

52 million people in the US have taken prescription drugs for non-medicinal use

The prescription drug abuse crisis is rampant across the country, regardless of location or socioeconomic status. It is estimated that over 6 million people had used prescription drugs in the United States last month alone. Prescription Drug addiction treatment centers are scrambling in certain places to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for their services, and the enormity and severity of the US addiction epidemic have gradually started to be recognized. Since the problem has escalated so rapidly, it is difficult to implement real and long-term preventive measures.

More than half of the people who misuse prescription drugs get them for free from a friend or relative.

It is undeniable that many people tend to have unused or extra prescriptions sitting idly in their homes. Sometimes, pills are stolen from others’ medicine cabinet, and certain other times, people tend to unwisely give these extras to friends or relatives without worrying about the potential for abuse. This is partially due to doctors over-prescribing certain medications, leaving patients with unnecessary pills out of use. Recommend your clients to dispose of the extra prescriptions at a nearby pharmacy.

62 percent of teens admitted to using prescription drugs as they were easy to get from their parents' medicine cabinets.

It is crucial to communicate to parents about the safe practices for keeping prescriptions out of reach of their children. Children can be tempted to seek pills for fun or to sell pills for benefit. Remind your clients with children to keep their prescriptions in a safe place and to talk to their children about the imminent dangers of experimenting with pills.

Prescription opioid abuse alone costs around $72 billion in medical treatment per year

The most troubling part of the financial prescription drug addiction statistics is that the cost of opioid treatment is equivalent to the annual cost of treating major diseases such as asthma or HIV. We might often not talk about the financial effects of opioid addiction, but there is no doubt that the prevailing issue of prescription drug abuse has had a major effect on the economy. Social workers understand better than anyone that the financial burden of substance addiction has a trickle-down effect of poverty, criminal activity, and community deterioration.

Deaths from painkiller overdose in women have increased by 400 percent since 1999, compared to 265 percent in men during the same period

As the newest generation of addicts continues to rise in numbers, women continue to be victims of fatal overdose. Doctors prescribe more painkillers to women, leading to a higher overall risk of misuse and habitual abuse that can also lead to addiction. Latest practices include more dosage scrutiny to prevent the type of overprescription that has unfortunately been common in the last 15-20 years.

The fact that the statistics on prescription drug addiction seeming so bleak is all the more reason to turn the tide in the fight against drug addiction. Healthcare providers and social workers are employed on the front lines, where prescription drug abuse statistics are a plain fact. These professionals are in the best position to recognize the warning signs of addiction due to their face-to-face time with clients.

Intervention for Prescription Drug Addiction or Abuse

Some families might look for drug addiction intervention to drive their loved ones towards the right help. Family members are the first to take the brunt of addiction behaviors: Spouses lose trust and intimacy, and children can be put into the midst of a toxic environment. The environment can get more toxic if the addicted individual is unwilling to seek help. This is where intervention comes into play. Intervention is a coordinated attempt to convey affection and concern to the addicted person about their troubling and self-destructive actions and to convey the expectations for behavioral change and treatment.

Drug intervention is the first step towards rebuilding family relationships in sobriety. Although intervention should be organized in the presence of an interventionist, there are certain things that social workers can do to prepare the family for success in confronting the addiction of their loved ones. They are:

  1. Developing a treatment plan gives a clear choice for a person to recover immediately. Talking to a recovery center about your client’s situation can be a good way to get started on this step.
  2. It may be extremely helpful for the intervention team to follow the steps of their planned intervention in the days or weeks leading up to the actual event. As one of the most useful drug intervention tips in practice, this option should be explored whenever possible.
  3. Brace and prepare for possible failures, as although interventions are 90 percent successful, it is still necessary for everyone involved to be informed of how to handle the client’s negative reactions.

When a family member goes to a social worker to ask for help with drug intervention tips, it is a time of helplessness where practical assistance can be offered.