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Friday, July 31, 2009

Abusing of Prescription Drugs

Abusing of Prescription Drugs

Nearly 7 million Americans are abusing prescription drugs*—more than the number who are abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy, and inhalants, combined. That 7 million was just 3.8 million in 2000, an 80 percent increase in just 6 years.
· Prescription pain relievers are new drug users’ drug of choice, vs. marijuana or cocaine.
· Opioid painkillers now cause more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.
· Nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors admits to abusing powerful prescription painkillers. A shocking 40 percent of teens and an almost equal number of their parents think abusing prescription painkillers is safer than abusing "street" drugs.
· Misuse of painkillers represents three-fourths of the overall problem of prescription drug abuse; hydrocodone is the most commonly diverted and abused controlled pharmaceutical in the U.S.
· Twenty-five percent of drug-related emergency department visits are associated with abuse of prescription drugs.
· Methods of acquiring prescription drugs for abuse include “doctor-shopping,” traditional drug-dealing, theft from pharmacies or homes, illicitly acquiring prescription drugs via the Internet, and from friends or relatives.
· DEA works closely with the medical community to help them recognize drug abuse and signs of diversion and relies on their input and due diligence to combat diversion. Doctor involvement in illegal drug activity is rare—less than one tenth of one percent of more than 750,000 doctors are the subject of DEA investigations each year—but egregious drug violations by practitioners unfortunately do sometimes occur. DEA pursues criminal action against such practitioners.
· DEA Internet drug trafficking initiatives over the past 3 years have identified and dismantled organizations based both in the U.S. and overseas, and arrested dozens of conspirators. As a result of major investigations such as Operations Web Tryp, PharmNet, Cyber Rx, Cyber Chase, and Click 4 Drugs, Bay Watch, and Lightning Strike, tens of millions of dosage units of prescription drugs and tens of millions of dollars in assets have been seized.* Prescription drugs refers to abuseable pharmaceuticals controlled under federal law enforced by the DEA

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