NIDA and Partners Announce National Initiative On Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse

Apr 10, 2001, 01:00 ET from National Institute on Drug Abuse

    WASHINGTON, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Institute on Drug Abuse
 (NIDA) and several national organizations today announced a public health
 initiative to raise awareness about recent trends in the misuse and abuse of
 prescription drugs in the United States.  The initiative seeks to inform the
 public, physicians, pharmacists, and others about the misuse and abuse of
 medications and promote additional research on the subject.
     "While prescription drugs can relieve a variety of medical problems and
 improve the lives of millions of Americans, they can be dangerous, addicting
 -- and even deadly -- when used non-medically," said NIDA Director Dr. Alan I.
 Leshner.  "An estimated four million people aged 12 or over used sedatives,
 stimulants, tranquilizers or opioids for non-medical reasons in 1999."
     Joining with NIDA are AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the
 American Pharmaceutical Association, the National Association of Chain Drug
 Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the National Council
 on Patient Information and Education, and the Pharmaceutical Research and
 Manufacturers of America.
     At a news conference in Washington, DC, Dr. Leshner said, "The reports of
 increasing misuse of prescription drugs in some segments of the population --
 older adults, adolescents, and women -- are particularly worrisome because of
 their numbers and because those numbers appear to be increasing rapidly."
     Research suggests that more than 17 percent of adults over 60 may be
 affected by prescription drug abuse.  New prescription drug abuse has
 dramatically increased among young people between 12-25 years old and in a
 1999 survey, 12-14 year olds named psychotherapeutics, such as painkillers,
 sedatives, and stimulants, as some of their more frequently used drugs.
 Overall, men and women use prescription drugs non-medically in equal numbers.
 However, some studies indicate that women may be more likely to misuse
 narcotics and anti-anxiety drugs, in part because women are two to three times
 more likely to be diagnosed with depression and, as a result, to be treated
 with psychotherapeutic drugs.  Among 12-17 year olds, young women are more
 likely than young men to use psychotherapeutic drugs non-medically.
     Dr. Leshner says doctors, pharmacists, and patients can all play a role in
 preventing misuse of medications.  Doctors should ensure that patients
 understand how to use prescribed medications and should also be alert to signs
 of patient drug abuse.  Pharmacists can help by clearly instructing people on
 how to take medication and explaining side effects and potential drug
 interactions.  They can also check for false or forged prescriptions.
 Patients should make sure they know how to use their medication, and should
 always talk to their doctor or pharmacist before increasing, decreasing, or
 stopping any medication.
     "Attention must now be paid to the long neglected area of prescription
 drug abuse," said Joseph H. Autry III, M.D., acting administrator, Substance
 Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  "There is no typical abuser.
 Medical personnel must use every opportunity to screen and educate all of
 their patients."
     As part of this effort, NIDA and its partners are releasing a research
 report that highlights the health consequences of prescription drug misuse and
 abuse.
     In addition to the research report, NIDA is distributing 400,000 postcards
 with messages about the dangers of prescription drugs.  The cards are
 available in restaurants, book stores, clubs, record stores, coffee shops,
 gyms, and other stores in several major cities, including Los Angeles,
 Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Miami, and Mesa, Arizona, the largest
 retirement community in the United States.  The cards are also being given out
 at college campus locations nationwide.
 
     The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National
 Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  NIDA
 supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of
 drug abuse and addiction.  The Institute carries out a large variety of
 programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its
 implementation in policy and practice.  Fact sheets on the health effects of
 drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and
 Spanish through NIDA Infofax at 888-NIH-NIDA (644-6432) or 888-TTY-NIDA
 (889-6432) for the deaf.  These fact sheets and further information on NIDA
 research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at
 http://www.drugabuse.gov .
 
 

SOURCE National Institute on Drug Abuse
    WASHINGTON, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Institute on Drug Abuse
 (NIDA) and several national organizations today announced a public health
 initiative to raise awareness about recent trends in the misuse and abuse of
 prescription drugs in the United States.  The initiative seeks to inform the
 public, physicians, pharmacists, and others about the misuse and abuse of
 medications and promote additional research on the subject.
     "While prescription drugs can relieve a variety of medical problems and
 improve the lives of millions of Americans, they can be dangerous, addicting
 -- and even deadly -- when used non-medically," said NIDA Director Dr. Alan I.
 Leshner.  "An estimated four million people aged 12 or over used sedatives,
 stimulants, tranquilizers or opioids for non-medical reasons in 1999."
     Joining with NIDA are AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the
 American Pharmaceutical Association, the National Association of Chain Drug
 Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the National Council
 on Patient Information and Education, and the Pharmaceutical Research and
 Manufacturers of America.
     At a news conference in Washington, DC, Dr. Leshner said, "The reports of
 increasing misuse of prescription drugs in some segments of the population --
 older adults, adolescents, and women -- are particularly worrisome because of
 their numbers and because those numbers appear to be increasing rapidly."
     Research suggests that more than 17 percent of adults over 60 may be
 affected by prescription drug abuse.  New prescription drug abuse has
 dramatically increased among young people between 12-25 years old and in a
 1999 survey, 12-14 year olds named psychotherapeutics, such as painkillers,
 sedatives, and stimulants, as some of their more frequently used drugs.
 Overall, men and women use prescription drugs non-medically in equal numbers.
 However, some studies indicate that women may be more likely to misuse
 narcotics and anti-anxiety drugs, in part because women are two to three times
 more likely to be diagnosed with depression and, as a result, to be treated
 with psychotherapeutic drugs.  Among 12-17 year olds, young women are more
 likely than young men to use psychotherapeutic drugs non-medically.
     Dr. Leshner says doctors, pharmacists, and patients can all play a role in
 preventing misuse of medications.  Doctors should ensure that patients
 understand how to use prescribed medications and should also be alert to signs
 of patient drug abuse.  Pharmacists can help by clearly instructing people on
 how to take medication and explaining side effects and potential drug
 interactions.  They can also check for false or forged prescriptions.
 Patients should make sure they know how to use their medication, and should
 always talk to their doctor or pharmacist before increasing, decreasing, or
 stopping any medication.
     "Attention must now be paid to the long neglected area of prescription
 drug abuse," said Joseph H. Autry III, M.D., acting administrator, Substance
 Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  "There is no typical abuser.
 Medical personnel must use every opportunity to screen and educate all of
 their patients."
     As part of this effort, NIDA and its partners are releasing a research
 report that highlights the health consequences of prescription drug misuse and
 abuse.
     In addition to the research report, NIDA is distributing 400,000 postcards
 with messages about the dangers of prescription drugs.  The cards are
 available in restaurants, book stores, clubs, record stores, coffee shops,
 gyms, and other stores in several major cities, including Los Angeles,
 Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Miami, and Mesa, Arizona, the largest
 retirement community in the United States.  The cards are also being given out
 at college campus locations nationwide.
 
     The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National
 Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  NIDA
 supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of
 drug abuse and addiction.  The Institute carries out a large variety of
 programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its
 implementation in policy and practice.  Fact sheets on the health effects of
 drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and
 Spanish through NIDA Infofax at 888-NIH-NIDA (644-6432) or 888-TTY-NIDA
 (889-6432) for the deaf.  These fact sheets and further information on NIDA
 research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at
 http://www.drugabuse.gov .
 
 SOURCE  National Institute on Drug Abuse