In 2010, 5.1 million people ages 12 and older reported the nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers in the past month, according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The majority of these users60.1%reported that they obtained the pain relievers free from a friend or relative. The other most commonly mentioned methods were obtaining them from a doctor (27.1% from one doctor and another 4.9% from more than one doctor) and buying them from a friend or relative (26.8%). Among those who used pain relievers nonmedically and indicated that they obtained the drugs from a friend or relative for free, 76.7% indicated that the friend or relative obtained the drugs from just one doctor (data not shown). Only 1% reported buying their prescription pain relievers on the internet. These findings suggest that improving both patient education as well as doctors monitoring of patients may help reduce the diversion of prescription pain relievers for nonmedical use.
NOTES: Percentages sum to more than 100% because respondents could indicate multiple sources from which they obtained pain relievers for past month nonmedical use. The response options Wrote a fake prescription and Stole from doctors office, clinic, hospital, or pharmacy were reported by less than one percent of those who used prescription pain relievers nonmedically in the past year and are not shown in the figure above.
SOURCE: Adapted by CESAR from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the
2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables, 2011. Available online at http://oas.samhsa.gov/nsduhLatest.htm.
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