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Facts on Prescription Drug Abuse in Denver and in Colorado

Facts on Prescription Drug Abuse in Denver and in Colorado

Prescription drugs are playing an increasingly larger role in U.S. life, with nearly half of all Americans taking one or more medications. On one hand, more people than ever are receiving effective treatment for chronic conditions and chronic pain. But doctors and pharmacists also find themselves struggling with unintended consequences of drug use.

Here are some facts about the increase in the use of prescription drugs to serve a non-medical purpose In the U.S. and here in Denver:

  • Nationally, one in five teens, or 19 percent, report abusing prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them.
  • In 2008 three times as many people in Colorado died from prescription drug abuse (562) than from drunk-driving related crashes (173)
  • The number of Colorado residents admitted for treatment for prescription opioid abuse in Colorado has
    more than tripled, increasing from 305 in 2000 to 1,062 in 2008.
  • In 2003 through 2008, 49 percent of the drug-related deaths in the city of Denver involved prescription drug abuse.
  • In 2008 there were 2,601 emergency room visits in the Denver Metro area related to opioid drug abuse,
    totaling 25 percent of all the drug related ER visits in the metro area.
  • According to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, from 2007 to 2008, rates of prescriptions
    for oxycodone increased from 86 (per 1000 prescriptions for Denver residents) to 111 in just over one year. Hydrocodone prescriptions also increased from 131
    to 150 per 1,000 prescription for Denver residents.
  • Data from the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program from 2007 to 2008 shows an average of 84,886
    hydrocodone prescriptions were filled for Denver residents every three months. An average of 58,051 oxycodone prescriptions were filled for Denver residents every three months with the advice to flush any
    unused medications into the wastewater system.

These statistics were provided by Denver Therapist Bonnie Mucklow, LPC, LMFT, CAC III, a licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed professional counselor and Colorado Addictions Counselor III who has provided psychotherapy for individuals, children and families for over 28 years. You can read more about Bonnie on her bio page.

If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse issues click here to see a list of WBC therapists who specialize in drug abuse issues.
Excerpts from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Health Statistics Section