Rate of Non-Medical Use of Rx Pain Meds 4.6 Percent

Considerable variation seen between states, from 3.6 percent in Iowa to 6.4 percent in Oregon

THURSDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of non-medical use of prescription pain relievers in the past year among individuals aged 12 years and older is estimated at 4.6 percent nationally, with considerable variation between states, according to a study published online Jan. 8 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Researchers from SAMHSA in Rockville, Md., surveyed individuals aged 12 years or older regarding their non-medical use of prescription pain relievers during the past year.

The researchers found that, based on combined data from 2010 and 2011, the rate of past year non-medical use of prescription pain relievers was 4.6 percent nationally, and ranged from 3.6 percent in Iowa to 6.4 percent in Oregon. Seven of the 10 states with the highest rates of past year non-medical prescription pain reliever use were in the West region, while of the 10 states with the lowest rates, four were in the Midwest and four in the South. In 10 states, there was a decrease in past year non-medical use of prescription pain relievers among individuals aged 12 or older from combined 2009-2010 to 2010-2011 data.

"Addressing prescription drug misuse remains a top public health priority, as we've seen inconsistent progress in addressing the issue across the states," Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., a SAMHSA administrator, said in a statement. "Data from this report helps [us] better understand geographic variations in use and should help with the development of more targeted and effective prevention and treatment programs."

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