Report: Pain Reliever Admissions Rose Sharply in Last Decade

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
pillsAdmission rates for prescription pain reliever abuse have risen sharply over the last decade according to a recently released report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report indicates that admissions related to prescription painkiller abuse have gone from 10 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 53 per 100,000 population in 2009. This rise in admission rates occurred nationwide, but was highest in eastern states, in particular Maine, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, Kentucky, Arkansas and West Virginia.While the number of admissions has remained steady overall, admissions for certain substances have increased dramatically in different parts of the country.  Admissions for marijuana disorders, for example, rose 33% in all regions of the nation except for the Mountain states of Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Montana and Idaho.  At the same time, admissions for cocaine abuse fell nearly the same amount (34%) in nearly every region of the country.SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde believes that the increasing number of prescription pain reliever related admissions is an indicator of the severity of the problem and advises “concerned family members or friends who think a substance abuse problem may exist [to] seek help.”   The Administration released a plan in April to address the problem on a national scale without negatively impacting the efficacy of pain-management.  The plan includes support for prescription drug monitoring at the state level, responsible disposal methods for unused medications in the home, and patient and caregiver education, and support for law enforcement efforts to reduce doctor shopping and “pill mills.”

Other findings of the report, entitled “Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) 1999 to 2009 State Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services” – include a 14% decrease in alcohol admissions over the ten year period, and a dramatic rise from 1999-2005 in methamphetamine/amphetamine admissions, followed by a steady decline through 2009.

Source: SAMHSA News Release 12/8/2011

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