Addiction 2It’s no secret that America has a widespread battle with the misuse of prescription drugs. In fact, the problem has been coined the prescription drug epidemic. With prescription drug abuse becoming a major public health concern, experts say it is ever more important that communities and governments band together to jointly tackle the issue that threatens the health and safety of so many residents.

According to a recent report in Science Daily, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that since 2002, close to 22 million Americans have used prescription drugs in a manner inconsistent with the way they were prescribed.

According to Pamela S. Hyde, Administrator for SAMHSA, labors at reducing misuse have had inconsistent results across the country. Gil Kerlikowske who serves as the Director of National Drug Control Policy says that there needs to be joint effort of prevention at both the federal and state level. He encourages people to learn more about the dangers in their own medicine cabinets and advises that any unused, expired, or unnecessary medications be disposed of in a proper manner.

Among other SAMHSA report findings was that data from 2010 to 2011 showed a rate of prescription abuse among those at least 12 years of age to be in the neighborhood of 3.6 to 6.4 percent, depending on the state. Hyde says that SAMHSA’s report is valuable for developing a more targeted approach for prevention and treatment. She adds that the public needs to be advised of the serious health risks associated with prescription drug abuse. Some of the states that topped the list for highest rates of painkiller abuse included Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Abusing prescription medications is only preceded by marijuana as America’s most common battle with unlawful drug use. Learn the truth about prescription drug abuse. Contact the Family Guidance Center for more information about prevention and treatment programs available.