Western States top the List for Highest Prescription Drug Abuse

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health is now reporting which states have the highest rates of prescription drug abuse for the 2010-2011 periods. Seven of the top 10 states for abuse of prescription pain relievers are Western states and sitting on top of the list is Oregon at 6.37%.

The government report indicated that Arizona had the sixth-highest level of prescription pain-reliever abuse in the nation in 2010-2011. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health said 5.66 percent of Arizona residents ages 12 and above were misusing prescription drugs in that period, compared to a national rate of 4.57 percent.

With doctors over-prescribing and kids stealing from their parents, prescription meds are running amok

Lisa Shumaker, prevention services manager in the Arizona Department of Health Services’ Office of Prevention said, “There are several factors for the relatively high rate of abuse in the state, including over-prescribing by doctors, the sale of unused medication and a lack of education about the pitfalls of prescription-drug addiction.”

“A lot of times people perceive that if it's been prescribed by a doctor, it's been tested by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), that it's all safe. But it's not, unless you're using it as prescribed by a doctor and you're under their medical care.”

According to the report, Western states tended to have a higher rate of prescription drug abuse. The top four states were Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Idaho and three other Western states – Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico – were in the top 10.

Efforts, nationwide have increased in recent years to thwart prescription drug abuse. Some efforts have included creating a database of patients who get prescriptions for powerful pain relievers and encouraging doctors to check the database before writing a prescription to make sure patients are not doctor shopping.

Something more still needs to be done about this prescription drug abuse epidemic

Further efforts include several new policies that help doctors with their prescription practices, educating people on the safe disposal of drugs that are no longer being used and programs to educate communities about the dangers of prescription drug misuse.