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The Silent Epidemic -- Legal Prescription Drug Abuse

Not a lot of attention is paid to prescription drug abuse. But nearly 20 percent of Americans have used prescription drugs for nonmedicinal reasons.  Three quarters of those may be abusing prescription drugs.

Between 1992 and 2002, the number of prescriptions written increased by 61 percent. In that same period, the number of prescriptions written for opiates increased by almost 400 percent.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

“According to a report ... by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitalizations for poisoning by prescription opioids, sedatives and tranquilizers jumped 65 percent from 1999 to 2006. One-third of new addicts report that their first drug experience was with prescription drugs.”

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