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Scope of Rx Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is affecting people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds.  These statistics bring to light what’s going on in Montana:

  • About one in 20 (5.23 percent) Montana teens aged 12 to 17 have reported nonmedical use of a prescription pain reliever at least once in the past year. That puts Montana squarely in the middle of the states at 25th in terms of rate of use in the country, and very close to the national average of five percent. 2012-2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
  • More than five percent of seventh and eighth graders, and nearly 16 percent of all Montana high school students have taken a prescription drug they did not have a
    prescription for at some point in their lives. That number rises to 19.6 percent for high school juniors and seniors. 2015 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey
  • Nearly 70 percent of prescription painkiller abusers get their drugs from a friend or family member, and most get them for free.  2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health2012-2013 Sources of Pain Releivers for Nonmedical Use SAMHSA survey (2)
  • Teens pick up on family attitudes toward drug abuse and misuse.  When students were asked how wrong they thought their parents would feel it would be for them (the students) to use prescription drugs not prescribed to them, 83 percent of Montana twelfth-graders responded ‘Very Wrong,’ with another 16 percent responding ‘Wrong’ or ‘A little big wrong.  2014 Montana Prevention Needs Assessment Student Survey State Report
  • While many parents (34 percent) believe there is little they can do to prevent their kids from trying drugs other than alcohol, parents are actually one of the most important sources that teens need to hear from about avoiding drugs.  In fact, kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are at least 20 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not hear that critical message from their parents. The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study: Teens & Parents 2013
  • It’s not just young people who are at risk.  Almost four percent of Montana adults ages 18 and older have admitted to the nonmedical use of a prescription pain killer in the past year.  While that is the 11th lowest state use rate overall, 359 Montanans adults died from prescription drug only overdoses between 2011-2013.  2012-2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health; Montana Department of Health and Human Services Office of Epidemiology and Support
  • The link between prescription narcotic painkiller abuse and subsequent and/or simultaneous heroin abuse continues to grow.  Now across the country 80 percent of “recent heroin initiates had previously used prescription opioids non-medically.” Centers for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality


Resolve Montana – Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program
Office of the Attorney General
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 200151
Helena, MT 59620-0151
Phone: (406) 444-2620
Fax: (406) 442-1894
Email: [email protected] 

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