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Prescription Drug Misuse

National Guard Prescription Drug MisUse Poster


Prescription drug abuse – more precisely referred to as “misuse” or PDM – by youth, young adults and older adults is a growing problem in California and the nation. Prescription drugs that are abused or used for nonmedical reasons can alter brain activity and lead to dependence. Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (often prescribed to treat pain), central nervous system depressants (often prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (prescribed to treat narcolepsy, ADHD, and obesity).

Long-term use of opioids or central nervous system depressants can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Taken in high doses, stimulants can lead to compulsive use, paranoia, dangerously high body temperatures, and irregular heartbeat.

In 2006, 16.2 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health; http://www.samhsa.gov. The NIDA-funded 2007 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 2.7% of 8th graders, 7.2% of 10th graders, and 9.6% of 12th graders had abused Vicodin and 1.8% of 8th graders, 3.9% of 10th graders, and 5.2% of 12th graders had abused OxyContin for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: Monitoring the Future http://www.monitoringthefuture.org. (Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse)

The California State Task Force on Prescription Drug Misuse

Prescription drug abuse – more precisely referred to as “misuse” or PDM – by youth, young adults and older adults is a growing problem in California and the nation. In recognition of this emerging serious health issue, the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP), under the leadership of Director Renée Zito, convened a task force to examine this issue and present recommendations to the Department.

Resource Information and Tools Regarding Prescription Drug Misuse

Resources and Information for Parents