Is prescription drug abuse a problem in Tennessee?

Alcohol use in Tennessee has decreased since 1992, and today, it's at a relatively low level compared to the past. Comparatively, drug use has become much more common, particularly among those who use prescription opioids. Tennessee has the third-highest prescription drug abuse problem in the entire nation.

What's interesting about prescription drug abuse is that it affects all demographics. It affects Caucasians, African Americans, Asians and others. It affects the wealthy and the poor. It spans generations.

People who use prescription medications for non-medical purposes are called recreational users. These users get up to 70 percent of their supplies from people they know, whether they're friends or family members. Some of these individuals do obtain prescriptions legally, at around 17 percent. Only around 4.4 percent of the prescription drugs abused in Tennessee come from drug dealers or people the individuals don't know.

It's hard to stop this kind of prescription drug abuse because it's not coming from drug dealers in most cases. The most commonly abused drugs, alprazolam, oxycodone and hydrocodone, are prescribed by doctors regularly. In fact, the number of the pills going home with patients is increasing yearly.

Some of the prescription drugs being abused in the state include lorazepam, diazepam, morphine and tramadol. Of course, there are many others, with most being prescription pain or cold medications.

It's possible that someone with a legitimate need for a drug could be accused of a drug crime because of an inability to present a prescription when asked. If you are in that situation, it's worth getting into contact with your medical provider or pharmacist to clear up the mistake before the situation goes any further. Your attorney can reach out to get the information you need to clear your name.

Source: The Right Step, "Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics in Tennessee," accessed Oct. 25, 2017

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