Almost 48 million Americans have used a prescription drug nonmedically at least once in their lifetimes. Narconon Drug Rehab warns that the nonmedical use or abuse of prescription drugs is a serious and growing public health problem in this country. The elderly are among those most vulnerable to prescription drug abuse or misuse because they are prescribed more medications than their younger counterparts. Most people take prescription medications responsibly; however, an estimated 48 million people (ages 12 and older) have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetimes. This represents approximately 20 percent of the US population. Also alarming is the fact that the 2004 National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA’s) Monitoring the Future survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th-graders found that 9.3 percent of 12th-graders reported using Vicodin without a prescription in the past year, and 5.0 percent reported using OxyContin-making these medications among the most commonly abused prescription drugs by adolescents. The abuse of certain prescription drugs-opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants- can alter the brain’s activity and lead to addiction. While we do not yet understand all of the reasons for the increasing abuse of prescription drugs, we do know that accessibility is likely a contributing factor. In addition to the increasing number of medicines being prescribed for a variety of health problems, some medications can be obtained …
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