Friends & Family Are Primary Source of Abused Painkillers

A new data analysis released by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reveals that the majority of first-time or occasional prescription drug abusers are most likely to get their drugs from a friend or family member— for free, or without permission. Prescription drugs are the second-most abused category of drugs in the United States, following marijuana. When taken as directed for legitimate medical purposes, prescription drugs are safe and effective. However, they are just as dangerous and deadly as illegal drugs when used for non-medical reasons. This new analysis found that: • Among new abusers of pain relievers (those who began misuse of pain relievers in the past year), 68 percent obtained the pills from a friend or relative for free or took them without asking, 17 percent got them through prescription by one or more doctors, and 9 percent purchased them from a friend, dealer, or the Internet. • Among occasional abusers of pain relievers (less than once a week on average in the past year), 66 percent obtained the pills from a friend or relative for free or took them without asking, 17 percent got them through prescription from one or more doctors, and 13 percent purchased them from a friend or relative, dealer, or the Internet. • Among chronic abusers of pain relievers, 41 percent obtained the pills from a friend or relative for free or without asking, 26 percent got them through prescription from one or more doctors, and 28 percent purchased them from a friend or relative, dealer, or the Internet. These findings underscore the importance of: the proper disposal of unused medications. To find a collection site near you, visit the DEA’s site locator online. Additionally, the FDA provides guidelines on how consumers can properly dispose of unused medicines on their own here.
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