Prescription Drug Abuse Still a Growing Problem

If you think the prescription drug problem is not a growing issue, consider the habits of Sara Allen. In a recent IPS News piece, Allen revealed that she uses prescription medication to get high. She recommends codeine, noting that she usually gets them from someone with a prescription or one of her mother’s friends with a drawer full of codeine pills.

Allen is quick to admit that while prescription meds are harder to get than illegal drugs, when they are available she readily uses them. When hanging out with friends, Allen will take codeine or illegal drugs. She is quick to highlight that prescription medications offer a different kind of high.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) annual report found that there is an increase in the abuse of prescription medication. Information is lacking for Africa, yet other countries show an alarming rise in the use of prescription medication. The study showed that in the United States alone, 6.2 million people are abusing prescriptions.

In several European countries like France, Italy and Lithuania, between 10 and 18 percent of students use sedatives or tranquilizers without a prescription. While most countries recognize this abuse, governments do not systematically collect information on prescription drug abuse.

Dr. David Bayever, deputy chairperson of the Central Drug Authority (CDA) noted the reason for the increase in prescription drug abuse can be attributed to the fact that these particular drugs are not illegal. They are a legal medication and when caught with them in their possession, the individual cannot be arrested.

"I fear whatever we do will not be enough," said Bayever. "People will see this as a picking field and will take advantage of the event. In spite of all the measures taken one must remember that these are well-organized groups who know where the loopholes are."