The use of prescription drugs in any manner other than that ordered by a physician is deemed as prescription drug abuse. In this paper, I will explore recent statistics in prescription drug abuse, the misconceptions behind prescription drug abuse, and the most commonly abused prescription drugs. I will also discuss various methods that are used to obtain excessive amounts of prescription drugs and the precautions used by those in the medical profession to control prescription drug abuse. In closing, I will focus on the government's effort to control prescription drug abuse through the tracking of prescriptions and the imposition of tougher penalties on those who violate the law.
In 1999, an estimated 9 million people were using prescription drugs for uses other than prescribed by their physicians. Of those who admitted to using prescription drugs in an abusive manner, over a quarter of the 9 million had just begun to do so in the previous year.
Listed among the abused prescription drugs recognized in 1999 surveys are: pain relievers, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants. Due to the fact that they are generally less healthy and that they are more likely to receive a greater amount of prescriptions, the most stable and definite abuse of any type of drug for the elderly is that of prescription drugs. For those in the age group of 12 to 17, primary abuse lies in the misuse of psychotherapeutic such as painkillers, tranquilizers, and stimulants. The scales do not seem to tip to either side when considering which gender abuses prescription drugs more often. What we do know is that young women tend to abuse psychotherapeutic drugs more often than young men.
Even if everyone in America over the age of 12 could have been surveyed for the aforementioned statistics, there would still be a large...