A new national survey by FindLaw.com finds one in four
Americans admits that they have abused prescription drugs.
Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem. The
National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription
drug abuse as a national epidemic affecting millions.
Prescription drug abuse involves taking a drug
for reasons other than the drug's intended usage or use of a drug by someone
other than the person listed on the prescription. The drug abuse can either be
an attempt to self-medicate a medical condition, or for purposes such as
According to the FindLaw.com survey, the most
common form of abuse admitted by survey respondents involved use of a drug by
someone other than the person listed on the prescription.
Twenty-four percent of people say they have either taken a medicine that was
prescribed to someone else or have given their own prescription medicines to
• Much of the self-admitted drug abuse appears to be attempts to self-medicate
a medical condition
• Only five percent say they have taken a prescription medicine - whether their
own or someone else's - for the purpose of getting of high
• Three percent of people say that have paid someone to obtain a prescription
• Only one percent of people say that they have stolen a medicine that was
prescribed for someone else
"Controlling prescription drug abuse is now
part of the National Drug Control Strategy by the federal government,"
said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney-editor at
FindLaw.com. "Prescription drug laws are intended to limit access and
distribution of those drugs to persons with documented medical needs under
strictly controlled conditions. Use of prescription drugs by persons other than
the person named on the prescription or for uses other than intended is both
illegal and dangerous."