Prescription drug abuse is the country’s second most prevalent illegal drug problem, and recent reports and studies have documented corresponding data in New York State. For example:
- Statewide prescriptions for hydrocodone have increased 16.7 percent, while those for oxycodone have increased an astonishing 82 percent;
- In New York City, the rate of prescription pain medication misuse among those age 12 or older increased by 40 percent from 2002 to 2009, with nearly 900,000 oxycodone prescriptions and more than 825,000 hydrocodone prescriptions filled in 2009;
- In Buffalo, New York’s largest methadone clinic outside of New York City, Catholic Health System, has begun to reorganize its service to accommodate an increase in care needed to treat the number of opiate-addicted expectant mothers and newborns;
- On Long Island, both crisis and non-crisis admissions to drug treatment that involve opiates other than heroin and have increased at alarming rates. Between 2004 and 2009, the number of deaths due to the toxic effects of prescription opioids more than tripled in Nassau County; and
- In the North Country, health care facilities have experienced a staggering increase in the percentage of non-crisis admissions for substance abuse involving prescription narcotics, eclipsing cocaine and heroin in Clinton and Franklin Counties, and surpassing even marijuana in St. Lawrence County.
The press release can be accessed at: http://www.ag.ny.gov/media_center/2012/jan/jan11a_12.html
Source: New York State Office of the Attorney General – January 11, 2012