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Vast Prescription Drug Abuse

April 30, 2012
Plain English Version

Most Americans do not follow their doctor’s orders when taking prescription drugs.

An analysis of the urine of 76,000 people was matched with physicians’ records.

Forty percent of the people in the sample were neglecting to take their medication. The researcher reported that some people could not afford the drugs, some skipped treatments, and some sold them on the black market.

The remaining 60 percent were taking medications, such as painkillers, sedatives or amphetamines not prescribed by their doctors. Sources of such medications varied.

Some patients were taking a combination of drugs without doctor supervision. The results were the same across gender and income, and the health coverage of the patient.

The abundance of prescription painkillers — obtained, in many cases, by stealing pills from a medicine cabinet, is enormous.

Doctors say the misuse of prescription drugs is a very big health problem.

The Wall Street Journal


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