The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that Opiate use has increased by 111-percent between 2004 and 2008. Surprisingly, the greatest level of drug abuse is among Americans in their forties, followed by those in their fifties, followed by teens and young adults.
A 2010 University of Michigan study of high school students found that teens chose Vicodin as their drug of choice second only to Marijuana. The National Center on Addictions and Substance Abuse found that 15-percent of those in grades 9-12 admitted to prescription drug abuse.
There is no typical drug abuser other than they represent Americans of every age group and demographic.
Overdose victims range from the teenager that mixes a lethal drug cocktail to the forty year old addicted to pain medications for a bad back to the elderly grandmother who forgets that she already took her pain pills and takes them again.
Eight out of 10 prescriptions written in the entire world every day are written for Americans. The presence of drugs in our lives has become ubiquitous. Fifty percent of all Americans are taking one or more prescribed medications every day. Even very young children are put at risk from overdose because of the presence of drugs in the home.
If drugs are not properly secured, young children may accidently ingest them. The motivation for abusing drugs may range from a college student who wants to get high you a housewife that has underestimated the powerful interaction of alcohol and painkillers to the injured construction worker or soldier who can no longer get through their lives without their medications.
As parents, we can secure dangerous medications where they cannot be taken accidently or for abuse purposes. Adults can also set an example by not reaching for a pill when they are stressed and instead go for a walk or a run. Americans may also need to ask government officials to study this issue more closely so that a national awareness and urgency can be brought to this important issue.
Reach the writer at Hurlburt@wildblue.net