Prescriptions drugs usage rate on the rise across the nation

By Raequan Harrison |Staff Writer|

Seventy percent of Americans are now on at least one prescription drug, according to the NY Daily News.
Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center research center conducted a study and found that seven out of 10 Americans are inclined to use prescription drugs, and over 50 percent of the population use more than one drug.

“Often when people talk about health conditions they’re talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes,” Dr. Jennifer St. Sauver Ph.D. of the Mayo Clinic.

“However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants—that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature,” continued Sauver.

According to the study by the Mayo Clinic, the most common drugs used were antibiotics, antidepressants and painkillers.

According to the National Institution on drug abuse, “opioids are medications that relieve pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus.”

“I use prescription medication for mental health purposes and sleeping pills. It makes me uncomfortable to know that so many people abuse them because I’m constantly worried about whether I’m taking too much,” said student Jessica Patalano.

“I have a good doctor and all, but it makes me wonder whether I’m really myself and whether I’m really getting any better or not. I feel like medication is used to treat symptoms but often doesn’t actually fix the problem behind it,” continued Patalano.

According to the Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence, over 1.2 million emergency room visits involved non-medical use of prescription medication in 2011.

In 29 percent of these medical emergencies, opioids were involved.

“As you get older you tend to get more prescriptions, and women tend to get more prescriptions than men,” said Sauver.

According to the study, prescription drug spending was $250 billion in 2009.

It accounted for 12 percent of total personal health care expenditures.

“To think that $250 billion is spent each year on prescription drugs is ludicrous! There are so many positive things we could do with that kind of money. I understand that some people have an actual need for this kind of treatment, but surely it could not be $250 billion dollars worth of need,” said CSUSB student Robert Treen.

“There must be some sort of addiction setting in for it to be that high,” continued Treen.

Assistant Professor Susan McGee-Stehsel of the Nursing Department at CSUSB said, “chronic disease is on the rise, as well as obesity. The healthier we are, the less we are likely to have to subscribe ourselves to prescription drugs.

“We have to take care of ourselves. I myself am very busy and have to make good choices when it comes to what I eat. What we eat and how often exercise will reduce obesity, chronic disease and the use of prescription drugs,” continued McGee-Stehsel.

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