Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, and a new report suggests it’s not people looking for a quick fix, but long-term use that may be leading to the problem.
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A new CDC study shows the number of people who abused prescription pain killers for more than 200 days in the last year rose by nearly 75% between 2002-03 and 2009-10. But estimates for overall past-year abuse have stayed about the same since 2002.
“This finding is important because it parallels increases in overdose deaths, treatment admissions, and other negative effects associated with opioid pain relievers in recent years,” researcher Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, MPH, of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC, writes in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Deaths from overdoses involving prescription pain killers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone, increased by 109% during the same time period.
In the study, researchers compared data on prescription pain killer use gathered by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002-2003 and 2009-2010.
People who used prescription pain killers were asked to state the number of days they used pain killers for nonmedical reasons in the last year.