Illicit and Prescription Drug Abuse Trending in Opposite Directions

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Recent data collected between 2007 and 2009 suggests that while the abuse of illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin has seen a dramatic decline, abuse of prescription drugs, specifically oxycodone, has steadily risen. This from a study of emergency department visits in 11 major metropolitan areas.

As reported by Kristina Fiore for MedPage Today, prescription painkiller abuse rose by about 1-percent each year while illicit drug abuse fell 4-percent each year over the same time frame.

The findings suggest that HIV and hepatitis C rates could also fall since they are common results of injection drug use. They also suggest that more caution and education is needed when doctors prescribe painkillers. Specifically, medical professionals should be identifying which of their patients could be at high rish of abusing their prescriptions.

Overall, illicit drug abuse still accounts for a higher percentage of emergency room visits, 28-percent, than prescription painkillers, 22-percent.

 

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