6+ Million People Misuse Prescription Psychotherapeutic Drugs

An estimated 6.2 million people aged 12 or older reported misusing psychotherapeutic drugs in 2016, reports the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The agency defines misuse as nontherapeutic use of a prescription medication at least once in the past month and collects data on four main categories of prescription psychotherapeutic drugs – pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. Of those four categories, prescription pain relievers were the most commonly misused by people aged 12 or older. Specifically, the report, 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), found:

•            More than 3 million people aged 12 or older misused prescription pain relievers;

•            About 2 million misused prescription tranquilizers;

•            An estimated 1.7 million misused prescription stimulants; and

•            Almost 0.5 million misused prescription sedatives.

Sponsored by SAMHSA, the NSDUH is the primary source for statistical information on illicit drug use, alcohol use, substance use disorders, and mental health issues for the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States.