One in 10 Americans have taken someone else’s Rx

August 28, 2013

One in 10 Americans admit taking someone else’s Rx, according to an ongoing Reuters/psos online survey. About a quarter of those people used the prescription drugs to get high, according to the survey

One in 10 Americans admit taking someone else’s Rx, according to an ongoing Reuters/psos online survey. About a quarter of those people used the prescription drugs to get high, according to the survey.

While nearly 75% of those surveyed said they have never taken a prescription drug that was not prescribed to them, 3% said they’ve taken someone else’s Rx  twice, and 2.8% said they have done it five or more times, 2.8% admitted doing it at least once, and 1.6% of respondents admitted doing it 3 or 4 times.

The survey reflects the growing problem of prescription drugs getting into the wrong hands. After marijuana, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drug category in the United States.  

Plus, many Americans say it is not very difficult to get someone else’s prescription drugs. About two-thirds were able to get drugs not prescribed to them from family members, 25.2% were given them by a friend, and 6.2% stole them from family members. Another 13.2% said the medication was prescribed to them but that it was medically unnecessary, old, or expired.

In another recent survey, more than a third of young people said they believe that prescription stimulant abuse is a big problem among their peers. In addition, 15% of people 10 to 18 years old said they have used stimulants and one-tenth said they have diverted medications.

Linda B. Cottler, PhD, MPH, chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine at the University of Florida, presented the findings at the recent College on Problems of Drug Dependence annual meeting.