The number of people abusing prescription medications fell by 13% from 7 million in 2010 to 6.1 million in 2011, as indicated in the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This annual report, provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, also indicates, however, that rates of prescription drug abuse are still second only to rates of marijuana use.
As part of the overall decrease in rates of prescription drug abuse, the number of people abusing prescription pain relievers fell by almost 12% from 5.1 million in 2010 to 4.5 million in 2011. The number of people abusing prescription stimulants remained similar, with 1.1 million using stimulants non-medically in 2010 and 970,000 people using stimulants non-medically in 2011. A decrease in abuse of prescription drugs was also seen among youth ages 12 to 17 years old. Abuse of prescription drugs fell from 4% of 12 to 17-year-olds in 2002 to 2.8% in 2011, and this includes a decrease in abuse of pain relievers among this age group. As in 2010, over 50% of people who abused prescription drugs in 2011 obtained them from friends or family for free, according to the NSDUH. Additional information on the survey results is available in a SAMHSA press release.