Drug abuse, and specifically prescription drug abuse, in the United States is a huge problem. Consider the following facts taken from the US Drug Enforcement Agency's website:
- 7 million Americans are abusing prescription drugs (that’s more than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, ecstasy, and inhalants, combined).
- Prescription drug abuse increased 80% in the past 6 years.
- Opioid painkillers now cause more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.
- Hydrocodone is the most commonly diverted and abused controlled pharmaceutical in the United States
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 20,000 people die each year from prescription drug overdose (74% from opiates)
- Opiate overdoses lead to 475,000 emergency department (ED) visits per year
Quest Diagnostics published a report in 2012 concerning prescription drugs found in urine. The study looked at 76,000 drug tests and found that 63% of all samples tested were not consistent with the physician’s documented prescriptions. In 40% of cases, no drug was detected where one was expected.