A new government study learned that more than 70 percent of people who abuse prescription pain pills get the drugs from friends or relatives. The study was based on a continuing national survey of almost 70,000 Americans on how they get prescription drugs. It offers a snapshot of a continued health and safety epidemic that is already responsible for more fatal overdoses than cocaine and heroin combined.
“This is one of the greatest drug threats we have ever faced,” said Michele Leonhart, the director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
It is estimated that 7 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drugs account for about 75 percent of all drug-related overdose deaths. Three of every four deaths from pills involve opioid pain pills including oxycodone.
Experts say that the way to fight the prescription drug epidemic is through education and support for addiction treatment services.