Fewer people abused prescription drugs last year than in 2007, reversing an upward trend in abuse of potent painkillers such as Oxycontin, a federal drug survey found, reports USA Today. People who once saw little risk in abusing prescription drugs appear to be responding to health reports underscoring dangers of misuse, according to officials with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
About 6.2 million Americans – 2.5% of the population – said they abused prescription drugs in the past month in 2008, a decrease from 2.8% of the population in 2007, the survey found. People who reported that they had used methamphetamine in the previous month also dropped dramatically, from 529,000 people in 2007 to 314,000 in 2008. Overall, illicit drug use among Americans held steady. The survey found 8% of the population – about 20.1 million Americans – used an illicit drug in the past month – no change from 2007.