Nearly 1 in 3 on Medicare Receive Opioids

More bad news from the U.S. drug wars: Misuse of prescription opioid painkillers by American adults more than doubled from the early 2000s to 2013, a new government study says. Rates of addiction to powerful painkillers also swelled during that time, according to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Survey results indicated more than 4 percent of adults reported nonmedical use of addictive opioids in 2012-2013. This means they took the drug without a prescription or more of the drug than prescribed or for longer periods or more often. Ten years earlier, less than 2 percent of adults reported such risky behavior. Moreover, the proportion of adults who reported nonmedical use of opioids at some point in their lives rose from 4.7 percent to more than 11 percent during the study period. And 2.1 million Americans met the criteria for prescription opioid use disorder, or opioid addiction, in 2012-2013.