Home > Addiction, Drug Abuse, Drug Addiction, Drug Testing, Prescription Drug Abuse > Where Do Prescription Drug Abusers Get Their Supply? You Might Be Surprised

Where Do Prescription Drug Abusers Get Their Supply? You Might Be Surprised

A new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the details on where prescription drug abusers are getting their supply — and the answer might surprise you.

Although people often think of drug abusers stealing pills from friends or relatives or purchasing them underground from drug dealers, the CDC’s research has marked doctors as the #1 source for prescription drug abusers.

What exactly did the study reveal, and how will this impact policies on prescription drug abuse? Here are the details.

Doctors are Primary Supplier of Prescription Drug Abusers

Published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)the recently-released study indicates that physician-prescribed drugs are a key part of America’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. Researchers examined data gathered from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to draw their conclusions. Rather than lumping chronic prescription drug abusers (who abused medications for at least 200 days in the past year) with occasional abusers, the CDC analyzed the groups separately.

According to the survey, at 27.3%, doctors were the #1 source for chronic prescription drug abusers. Friends and family members Where Do Prescription Drug Abusers Get Their Supply? You Might Be Surprisedwere a very close second with 26.4%, while purchasing the drugs from friends and family ranked at 23.2% and drug dealers came in last at 15.2%.

Anyone who doubts the validity of these findings should know that they echo those of two separate studies:  a 2012 Los Angeles Times investigation that found half of Southern California prescription drug overdoses were caused by physician-prescribed medications, while another JAMA article found doctor involvement in Tennessee’s problem with narcotic painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin, which are behind 16,000 fatal overdoses per year.

Implications for Policies on Prescription Drug Abusers

CDC head Dr. Tom Frieden hopes that the study will help medical professionals and policy makers determine the best way to combat the rise in prescription drug abusers. While previous prevention efforts have been aimed at more causal users, new policies should address the issue of physician-prescribed medications used by chronic abusers.

Frieden suggests prescription drug monitoring programs as a solution, but he asserts that they must be mandatory and thoroughly enforced so that problematic patients and doctors alike are identified. Several states, such as California, have prescription drug monitoring programs in place or proposed in current legislation.

Get Help For Prescription Drug Abusers at ARCpoint Labs of Worcester

If you suspect that a friend or loved one may be a prescription drug abuser, the first step in helping them recover is helping them admit they have a problem. Drug testing at ARCpoint Labs of Worcester can confirm your suspicions and help your loved one confront their addiction.  Call ARCpoint Labs of Worcester to hear more about our drug testing services, including prescription drug screening.


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