Prescription Drug Abuse News

News about prescription drug abuse. News sources about the abuse of prescription drugs is collected from public sources such as news articles, government reports, drug rehabilitation programs, and other public health programs.

See key security threats and facts at our main prescription drug abuse page.

Prescription drug abuse in the United States lead to 40 percent of all poising deaths between 1996 and 2006 to involve painkillers.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “NCHS Data Briefs: Increase in Fatal Poisonings Involving Opioid Analgesics in the United States, 1999-2006,” September 2009, No. 22.

A study by the University of British Columbia found that abuse of OxyContin in British Columbia, Canada is primarily focused in rural areas of the province.

See more prescription drug abuse statistics here.

Source:  Vancouver Province, “‘Hillbilly heroin’ use common in rural B.C.: report,” October 5, 2009.

Prescription drug abuse in the United States leads to around 12,000 emergency room visits by people each year.

Source:  Liz Szabo, “Prescriptions now biggest cause of fatal drug overdoses,” USA Today, September 30, 2009.


Prescription drugs is the primary drug of abuse for 20 to 30 percent of California’s drug abusers.

Source: Associated Press, “California attorney general unveils online prescription drug database to spot abuse,” San Francisco Examiner, September 16, 2009.

In 2008, 2.5 percent of the United States population (about 6.2 million people) abused a prescription drug.

The percentage of people who abused a prescription drug is down from the 2.8 percent in 2007.

(More prescription drug abuse information and statistics.)

Source:  Donna Leinwand, “Abuse of prescription drugs dips,” USA Today, September 10, 2009.

There was a 76 percent increase in the number of calls to poison control centers in the United States regarding teenagers abusing attention deficit disorder drugs.

(All prescription drug abuse statistics.)

Source: Associated Press, “Teen trippin’ on ADHD drugs can be a real downer,” Google News, August 24, 2009.

20 percent of teens between the age of 12 to 17 admitted to sharing their prescription drugs with their friends, according to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The most commonly shared drugs were allergy drugs, pain relievers, acne medications, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

(Additional prescription drug abuse statistics.)

Source: Reuters, “Many teens share prescription drugs: study,” August 18, 2009.

The following are facts provided by the Partnership for a Drug Free American regarding prescription drug abuse by teenagers in the United States.

  • 2,500 teenagers use some sort of prescription drug to get high for the first time every day.
  • More 12 and 17 year olds abuse prescription drugs than meth, ecstasy, crack/cocaine and heroin combined.
  • 60 percent of teens who abuse painkillers started their habit before the turned 15.

(Latest crime in the United States data.)

Source: Partnership for a drug free America, “Not in My House”, website, accessed: August 18, 2009.

According to the International Narcotics Control Board, the amount of Americans who abuse prescription drugs is greater than the number of people who abuse cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and inhalants combined.

Source:  Duncan Campbell, “International drugs body calls for global action as internet dealing rises to ‘alarming’ levels,” Guardian, February 19, 2009.

The total cost of prescription drug abuse in the United States is valued at $72.5 Billion.

See all statistics on prescription drug abuse.

Source: National Drug Intelligence Center, “National Prescription Drug Threat Assessment 2009: Executive Summary,” United States Department of Justice, April 2009.