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Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

Abuse of prescription drugs to get high has become increasingly prevalent among teens and young adults. Past year abuse of prescription pain killers now ranks second—only behind marijuana—as the Nation's most prevalent illegal drug problem.

What are some trends in prescription drug abuse?
A number of national studies and published reports indicate that the intentional abuse of prescription drugs, such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives, to get high is a growing concern particularly among teens.

How should prescription drugs be disposed of?
Unless the label instructs differently, unused prescription drugs should be disposed of in the trash.

What are some facts and statistics about prescription drug abuse?
There are three classes of prescription drugs that are most commonly abused:

  • opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, and morphine;
  • central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines;
  • stimulants such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate

More Prescription Drugs Facts & Figures

How can I report the illegal sales of prescription drugs?
The DEA has a toll-free international hotline to report the illegal sale and abuse of prescription drugs: 1-877-RxAbuse (1-877-792-2873).

The illegal sale of drugs on the Internet or in e-mails can be reported to the following agencies: Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Diversion Control Program, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Help us spread the word about the harms of prescription drug abuse. Find out how to our "Prescription Drug Abuse" icon to your site.

Other resources

Drug Fact News

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Policy Focus

  • View a clip (Quicktime, 55 sec.) demonstrating one way to properly dispose of prescription drugs.
  • What Works: Effective Public Health Responses to Drug Use: This booklet highlights several of the cost-effective, research-tested demand reduction initiatives that have proven successful in the United States and could be helpful to countries around the world in addressing their own drug abuse challenges.


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