Opiate (narcotic) abuse and addiction is increasingly described as an “epidemic” in the United States.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately two million people in the United States alone are addicted to prescription opiates. The following is a collection of statistics on opiate addiction and opiate abuse facts compiled from several U.S. sources including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Between 2001 and 2009 the number of drug and alcohol problems diagnosed by U.S. doctors increased by 70 percent; this number is thought to be driven by the accompanying increase in prescription opiate use and abuse.
Heroin is the most widely known illegal opiate but other common prescription opiates include Vicodin, Methadone, Hydrocodone, Percocet, OxyContin, Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Codeine.
Opiate dependency is estimated to affect nearly 10% of medical practitioners.
An estimated 52 million people (20 percent of those aged 12 and older) have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetime.
About 1 in 20 high school seniors (5%) reported abusing OxyContin.
Ten percent of high school seniors took Vicodin without a doctor’s prescription, according to a 2008 research study.
The total number of opiate prescriptions dispensed by retail pharmacies in the United States rose from 76 million in 1991 to 210 million in 2010.
Opiate use and addiction is linked to at least 50 percent of the major crimes in the United States; at least half of all suspects arrested for violent crimes (homicide, assault, etc.) were under the influence of opiates when arrested.
Reports indicate that nearly two-thirds of people in opiate abuse treatment say that they were physically or sexually abused as children.
Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers.
On average, heroin users have a $150 to $200 per day drug addiction.
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