Prescription Drug Abuse



Prescription drug abuse (PDA) has been a rapidly growing problem in the United States, causing mortality rates even greater than those of heroin and cocaine combined. Second to marijuana as the most commonly used illicit drugs, approximately 20% of Americans have engaged in the nonmedical use of prescription drugs, mainly as a result of easy access of these medications from family, friends or via the Internet. Opioid medications are the most frequently abused and are associated with the most dramatic and serious consequences of PDA. In an attempt to curb diversion, recommendations for detection and prescribing drug with abuse liability in patients with history or potential for addiction, and strategies for prevention such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), formulary restriction (FR), and physician, patient and public education were developed and initiated. Guidelines for pharmacologic and behavioral therapies, as well as, federal and statewide efforts to improve access to substance abuse programs were also initiated. Despite such efforts, however, current armamentarium for managing and preventing PDA remains limited. There is a strong need to focus on implementation on high-quality care for pain, anxiety and attention conditions in order to achieve better patient outcomes such as ones with less abuse of medication and less diversion.


Prescription drug abuse Opioid prescription pain relievers (OPR) Illicit drug use Illicit use of legal drugs Nonmedical abuse of prescription medications Misused prescription drugs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyYale New Haven Hospital, Yale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyYale New Haven HospitalNew HavenUSA

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