Study: Prescription Drug Abuse Begins with Pills from Family, Friends

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More than 70 percent of people who abuse prescription painkillers first obtain the drugs from the family medicine cabinet or are given pills by friends or relatives, according to a new government study released by the DEA. The findings are based on a two-year national survey of approximately 70,000 Americans over the age of 12.

Reliance on family and friends for prescription drugs is most common among occasional abusers (those who abuse drugs less than once a week) and new abusers. When abuse becomes chronic, many turn to doctors, the Internet or drug dealers as a source for prescription drugs. Among chronic abusers, about 40 percent continue to obtain pills from friends and relatives. The pills are either given freely or taken without the owner’s knowledge.

Approximately 7 million American are currently believed to be prescription drug abusers. The Centers …

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