Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse and misuse is serious problem in Colorado and around the United States. In 2010, more than 38,000 people died from a drug overdose in the United States – one every 14 minutes. Nearly 60 percent of those deaths involved prescription drugs and, of those, 75 percent were opioid painkillers. In Colorado, the number of drug overdose deaths range from 250-500 per year; in 2010 it was just over 300.

The rates of misuse and overdose death cut across all demographics, though they’re highest among men, persons ages 20-64, non-Hispanic whites, and those in poor and rural areas.

A small percentage of providers prescribe the majority of controlled substances but providers who do prescribe these medications frequently inherently see more higher-risk patients and are more likely to have patients who are doctor shopping for opioids.

Colorado is working to develop a coordinated response among the many stakeholders. Colorado Medical Society leaders actively participate in the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and support the Colorado Board of Pharmacy’s efforts to enhance the Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) system.

Check back often for more resources related to physicians and prescription drug abuse, misuse and prevention.

Links and resources

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