Study Shows Leap in Prescription Drug Abuse

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The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reports that abuse of prescription drugs has nearly doubled.

Many of us were raised to think that there are such things as good drugs, like different types of over the counter and prescription drugs, and bad drugs like cocaine, meth, heroin or LSD. The simple fact is that they are all still drugs and all drugs have immediate and long-term side effects.

A new study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University found that the 15.1 million Americans abusing prescription drugs exceed the combined number abusing cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants and heroin.

The CASA report reveals the findings of a three-year study of prescription painkillers, depressants and stimulants. The study found that while the U.S. population increased 14 percent from 1992 to 2003, the number of 12-17 year olds abusing prescription drugs leapt 212 percent and the number of adults doing so rose 81 percent. The total number of Americans abusing prescription drugs went from 7.8 million to 15.1 million.

Most drugs simply mask the pain and discomfort for which they are taken and don't actually "cure" anything. Aspirin, for example, doesn't cure a headache. It simply "short circuits" the person's ability to get the pain messages coming from the cause of the headache. The nutritional deficiency or physical problem that originally caused the headache is still there, but it is temporarily no longer perceived by the drug user. Usually, when the drug wears off, the ache returns and will often be more severe because the original problem was masked or hidden and not directly addressed or handled.

Additional disturbing information from the CASA study shows that teens who abuse prescription drugs are twice as likely to use alcohol, five times likelier to use marijuana, 12 times likelier to use heroin, 15 times likelier to use Ecstasy and 21 times likelier to use cocaine, compared to teens who do not abuse such drugs.

Some major factors contributing to the increase in prescription drugs of young and old alike is the availability and promotion of them. The airwaves, newsprint and internet are filled with advertisements for prescription drugs and the prescriptions themselves are fairly easy to obtain. Most people don’t view these drugs as being as harmful as street drugs, despite the similar chemical make-up, side effects and abuse potential.

The fact that all drugs are essentially poisons and can be harmful is a message that Narconon Arrowhead has been sending out to people for many years. As one of the nation’s largest and most successful drug rehabilitation and education programs, the center has seen an increase of clients needing treatment for prescription drug abuse.

Narconon® literally means NARCOtics-NONe, and the effective program uses the drug-free rehabilitation methodology of American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard to help thousands of people across the country each year through treatment and prevention campaigns.

For more information about drugs and addiction contact Narconon Arrowhead today by calling 1-800-468-6933 or visit

For more details on the recent study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse log on to


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Luke Catton