Substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers have increased 400 percent in the last decade, says a federal study issued today. The report was issued by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which said the increase in cases of abusing pain relievers spans every age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, employment level, and region. The study shows a more than tripling of pain reliever abuse among patients who needed treatment for opioid dependence.
White House drug policy director Gil Kerlikowske said the report “highlights how serious a threat to public health we face from the abuse of prescription drugs. The spikes in prescription drug abuse rates captured by this study are dramatic, pervasive, and deeply disturbing.” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said, “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.”