The 2009 Prescription Drug Threat Assessment has been released in a pdf format (click on above picture for link) by the US Department of Justice’s National Drug Intelligence Center. This 75 page document is loaded with the most current information available on prescription drug abuse in the US gathered by SAMHSA, the DEA, and literally thousands of state and local law enforcement agencies. The gist of the report is that controlled prescription drug (CPD) has remained relatively stable the last few years, however this can be a little misleading when you consider the continued steep rise in the chart of the three D’s for opioids (painkillers) abuse. Diversion, dependence, and deaths are once again major problems and the availability of these pain killers continues to increase. The report is bad enough but I still think it underestimates the problem- because like alcohol, pain killer abuse is underreported and the direct repercussions (abuse, neglect, financial, and crime) are often misinterpreted.
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One really scary fact in this report is that prescription pain killers passed marijuana to become the number gateway to continued illicit drug use among those 12 and older. This speaks volumes for how accepted these very dangerous drugs have become in our society, with some young people now treating codeine and opioid based pain relievers as they would aspirin.
This is a report you’ll want to favorite, especially if you are a parent, teacher, or advocate.