- One in Five adults take prescription psychiatric drugs
- Prescription drugs are the second most common substances to be abused
- 27,000 unintentional drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States
- 250million prescriptions for anti-depressants were written in 2010
- 10 per cent of high school pupils are prescribed drugs for ADHD
- Anti-depressants have been linked to a series of school shootings
By Tom Gardner
PUBLISHED: 12:21 EST, 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 17:12 EST, 10 February 2014
More than 70million Americans – or one in five of the population – is on mind-altering drugs, a new study has found.
The shocking survey revealed that prescription drug abuse as well as illegal narcotics use has reached epidemic proportions across the country.
Nearly 50 million people are thought to have been given high-strength substances by their doctors – leading to an alarming spike in drug-related deaths.
The death of movie star of Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent heroin overdose again promoted the spectre of illicit substances in the country’s psyche.
But new research by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested the far greater hazard is posed by over the counter prescription drugs, such as anti-depressants, sleeping pills and anxiety relief substances.
Experts have warned legal substances caused more overdose deaths than heroine and cocaine combined during the past decade, according to the U.S. report.
In 2010 more than 250 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written for Americans.
Shock: More than 27,000 people died in a single years as a result of an unintentional overdose on prescription drugs
A staggering 27,000 unintentional overdoses deaths were ascribed to prescription drugs in a single year, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention found.
Experts have warned that prescription drug addiction has reached epidemic proportions
The organisation was so alarmed by the figures, its report noted: ‘Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States.’
For the last decade, ‘more overdose deaths have involved opioid analgesics than heroin and cocaine combined.’
It feared the rise in the rate of opioid analgesics prescriptions – drugs marketed under the brand names Norco, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Exalgo, OxyContin, Percocet, Astramorph, Avinza – was likely to drive the trend even higher in the coming years.
The dangerous implications of so many people being prescribed these powerful mind-altering substances are finally being understood.
Recent research is beginning to draw a link between a popular sleeping pill called Ambien and – called as a hypnotic drug – to a series of crimes and serious accidents.
The drug was famously thought to have been a factor in a car crash involving the-Republican Patrick Kennedy.
Research into school shootings and violence among young people is finding links with the use of anti depressants.
Four and nine million by most estimates, mostly boys – to take Ritalin or similar dangerous psycho-stimulant drugs which can have similar side effects to cocaine or the amphetamines.
19 percent of high school-age boys in the U.S. are being diagnosed with ADHD and about 10 percent are currently being prescribed drugs for it, while 10 percent of high school-age girls are being likewise diagnosed.
Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and Yale medical professor told the New York Times: ‘Those are astronomical numbers. I’m floored.’
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