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Treatment for prescription drug abuse up 400 percent

Treatment for prescription drug abuse up 400 percent

The medicine cabinet is getting more threatening.

There has been a 400 percent increase in substance abuse treatment admissions for people abusing prescription drugs, according to new government data.

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The study was conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration from 1998 to 2008 for those 12 and older. The increase spanned every age, gender, race, ethnicity, education and employment level and region.

Among the findings: There was a tripling of pain relieve abuse among those patient who needed treatment for opiate dependence.

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The data "highlights how serious a threat to public health we face from the abuse of prescription drugs", said Gil Kerlikowske, national drug policy director, in a statement. "The spikes in prescription drug abuse rates captured by this study are dramatic, pervasive, and deeply disturbing."

The non-medical use of prescription drugs is now the nation's second-most prevalent form of illegal drug use, said Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of the substance abuse agency.

A recently released national drug control strategy outline steps to curtail this fast-growing drug problem.

They include increasing prescription drug take-back and disposal programs, educating doctors about opiate painkiller prescribing, expanding prescription drug monitoring programs, addressing doctor shopping and pill mills, cracking down on illegal internet pharmacies and rouge pain clinics that ignore appropriate prescription practices.

What do you have leftover in your bathroom cabinet?

AFP/Getty photo

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