More U.S. Residents Used Prescription Drugs for Nonmedical Purposes in 2003, Survey Finds
The number of U.S. residents ages 12 and older who used prescription drugs -- including Vicodin, OxyContin, Hydrocodone and other pain relievers -- for nonmedical purposes increased to 31.2% in 2003 from 29.6% in 2002, according to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health released Thursday, the Washington Times reports (Wetzstein, Washington Times, 9/10). Based on interviews with 67,784 U.S. residents ages 12 and older, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey found that:
- Of the 6.3 million U.S. residents currently taking prescription medications for nonmedical purposes, about 4.7 million used pain relievers, 1.8 million used tranquilizers, 1.2 million used stimulants and 0.3 million used sedatives (HHS release, 9/10);
- Among youths ages 12 to 17, use of Ecstasy and LSD between 2002 and 2003 declined by 41% and 54%, respectively;
- From 2002 to 2003, marijuana use declined by about 5% among youths ages 12 to 17, and the number of current marijuana smokers ages 12 and 13 who reported using the substance within one month of the survey decreased by 30% (McDonough, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 9/10);
- Rates of illicit drug use and smoking remained statistically unchanged since 2002; and
- The number of U.S. residents who said they binge drank -- consumed more than five alcoholic drinks in one sitting -- remained unchanged at about 54 million. Similarly, the number of U.S. residents who said they drank heavily -- binge drank at least five times in the previous month -- remained unchanged at about 16.1 million.