Doctor or Dealer: Where Do Most Drugs Come From?

Doctor or Dealer: Where Do Most Drugs Come From?

Four percent of prescription drugs are purchased from a dealer while most drugs are sold from legal prescriptions

When it comes to prescription drug abuse like to Xanax, most people don’t rely on a dealer. The drugs are too often easily available from family and friends.

Prescription Drug Abuse and Physician Prescribing

There are many reasons behind the rise in prescription drug abuse rates over the past decade, but one factor is how commonly drugs such as painkillers are prescribed. While some people become addicted to prescription drugs due to a chronic condition that led to addiction over time, other people try the drugs out of curiosity and then became addicted. In either case it’s likely the drugs were available from a valid prescription.

Government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that a movement in the late 1990s and 2000s to address chronic pain in patients led to much higher prescribing rates and higher abuse rates. Since 1995 there has been a tenfold increase in the use of opioid painkillers. The number of overdose deaths related to drug poisoning, particularly from opioid painkillers, more than doubled between 1999 and 2007 to more than 75 deaths per day.

The problem is even more serious in certain regions of the country particularly in rural America. States with the highest overdose death rates are in the Appalachian region and the Southwest.

Abuse of prescription drugs like Xanax is the second most common type of drug abuse. There were 1.9 million people who reported past year dependence or abuse in 2013 compared with 4.2 million marijuana users, 855,000 cocaine users and 517,000 heroin users according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Ways People Get Prescription Drugs

When it comes to prescription drugs, the vast majority of drugs available on the black market or otherwise are from prescriptions according to the CDC. Theft from pharmacies accounts for very few drugs available. It is far more common for drugs to be prescribed by a doctor and then dispensed only to end up with people who use them without a prescription. In fact more than three out of four people who abuse prescription drugs are using medications prescribed for someone else.

Only 4% of people get painkillers from a drug dealer or stranger—53% get them from a friend or relative for free, and 11% buy them from a friend or relative. Around 21% get the drugs through a prescription from a doctor according to the NSDUH.

The majority of prescriptions for drugs with addictive potential are written by primary care and internal medicine physicians and dentists. Around 80% of all painkiller prescriptions are written by 20% of prescribers notes the CDC. In addition it’s common for people to misuse their own prescriptions and leave unused medications in places easily found by family members or friends.

A 2010 survey conducted by the Utah Department of Health found that 21% of Utah adults age 18 or older were prescribed an opioid painkiller in a one-year period. Of this number 3.2% reported using the medication more often or in higher amounts that prescribed. In addition 71% of people with leftover medication reported keeping it. Around 2% of adults reported using opioids not prescribed to them.

Awareness about the need for prescription drug addiction treatment continues to grow. While the number of people treated in the past year for addictions to alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants and sedatives were similar in 2002 and 2013, the number treated for prescription drugs like Xanax increased according to the 2013 NSDUH. The number of people treated for painkillers more than doubled from 2002 to 2013 while treatment for tranquilizers rose 90% and treatment for stimulants rose 72%. In addition to prescription drug addiction, the number of people treated for heroin rose 90% from 2002 to 2013.

Need Help Finding Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment?

Addiction is a serious disease that changes a person’s life physically, socially and mentally. While prescription drug dependence can seem like a minor problem, it is easy for reliance on medication to turn into addiction. A person who abuses substances as a way to feel better or manage stress is even more likely to develop an addiction.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a prescription drug addiction like to Xanax, there are treatment solutions that offer healthy ways to cope. Do not let an addiction drag you further into depression or anxiety. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at our toll-free helpline to offer options for effective treatment.

Addiction is a highly treatable disease, and people who seek help learn skills that improve day-to-day life and enrich their relationships. Call us today, and start on the path to a better life.

Are you ready to seek treatment?

If you are ready to beat a Xanax addiction and start a new life in recovery then we can help. We have admission counselors standing by 24 hours a day to take your email, live chat request, or phone call to get you in the addiction treatment center that best fits your unique & specific needs.