A federal survey published Thursday found that about 45 percent of the individuals 12 and over take prescription psycho-therapeutic drugs, amounting to 119 million Americans. Misuse of prescription psycho-therapeutic drugs is second only to marijuana as the nation’s most prevalent illicit drug use issue.
Organizations, such as the CDC and SAMHSA, are working on two main solutions: (1) creating better prescribing practices to lessen the availability of the drugs; and (2) expanding substance abuse treatments to increase affordability and accessibility.
The widespread availability of these drugs poses issues with the misuse of these drugs. Only 5 percent of survey respondents bought drugs from a dealer or stranger, the vast majority misused their own prescriptions or obtained drugs from family or friends. This misuse amounts 16 percent of all prescription drug use, a result of a prescribing system that promotes overuse and abuse.
A secondary issue is the lack of affordable and accessible treatment options. Many of these psycho-therapeutic drugs have addictive properties. Only 8.3 percent of individuals need substance abuse treatment, but only 1- percent of these individuals people receive the treatment that can help them to recover.