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One in Four Americans Admits Abusing Prescription Drugs, Says Survey

EAGAN, Minn., Aug. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- One in four Americans admits that they have abused prescription drugs, according to a new national survey by, the most popular legal information website.

Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem. The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as a national epidemic affecting millions.

Prescription drug abuse involves taking a drug for reasons other than the drug's intended usage or use of a drug by someone other than the person listed on the prescription. The drug abuse can either be an attempt to self-medicate a medical condition, or for purposes such as getting high. 

According to the survey, the most common form of abuse admitted by survey respondents involved use of a drug by someone other than the person listed on the prescription. 

  • Twenty-four percent of people say they have either taken a medicine that was prescribed to someone else or have given their own prescription medicines to someone else
  • Much of the self-admitted drug abuse appears to be attempts to self-medicate a medical condition
  • Only five percent say they have taken a prescription medicine – whether their own or someone else's – for the purpose of getting of high
  • Three percent of people say that have paid someone to obtain a prescription medicine
  • Only one percent of people say that they have stolen a medicine that was prescribed for someone else

"Controlling prescription drug abuse is now part of the National Drug Control Strategy by the federal government," said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney-editor at "Prescription drug laws are intended to limit access and distribution of those drugs to persons with documented medical needs under strictly controlled conditions. Use of prescription drugs by persons other than the person named on the prescription or for uses other than intended is both illegal and dangerous."

Free information on laws on drugs can be found at websites such as  (

The survey was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 1000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent.

Note to editors: Full survey results and analysis are available upon request.

Alex Cook

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