Admissions for Prescription Pain Reliever Abuse Rising

Admissions for pain reliever abuse increased more than 400 percent over a decade
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Substance abuse admissions involving prescription pain reliever abuse increased from 2.2 to 9.8 percent between 1998 and 2008 in those aged 12 and older, according to a recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The study, based on SAMHSA's Treatment Episode Data Set, a national reporting system, revealed that the proportion of admissions rose for men and women of all ages and racial/ethnic groups, in all regions of the country, and at all levels of education or employment status. Overall, the proportion of individuals admitted for prescription pain reliever abuse rose more than 400 percent -- from 2.2 percent in 1998 to 9.8 percent in 2008.

The proportion of men admitted for treatment due to misuse of prescription pain relievers rose from 1.8 percent in 1998 to 8.1 percent in 2008, and the proportion in women rose from 3.5 to 13.3 percent. Admissions increased from 1.9 to 9.7 percent in people with an eighth grade education or less, and from 3.8 to 12.1 percent in those with more than a high school education. The proportion of therapy admissions for which medication-assisted opioid therapies, such as methadone or buprenorphine, were planned climbed drastically from 6.8 to 26.5 percent.

"The non-medical use of prescription pain relievers is now the second most prevalent form of illicit drug use in the nation," SAMHSA administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said in a statement. "This public health threat demands that we follow the President's National Drug Control Strategy's call for an all out effort to raise awareness of this risk and the critical importance of properly using, storing, and disposing of these powerful drugs."

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