How Prevalent Is the Use of Prescription Drugs in the US?

About half all American adults regularly use prescription drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most commonly prescribed drugs tend to be antidepressants for middle-aged Americans and drugs used to treat high cholesterol for older Americans. In 2008, 20% of children and adolescents were reported to have taken prescription drugs within a 30-day period, with asthma medications being the most common for children and stimulants being the most common for adolescents.

More about drugs:

  • In 2008, about 36,000 Americans died from prescription drug overdoses, roughly the same number of deaths from car accidents.
  • More than 10% of Americans report having taken five or more prescription drugs within a 30-day period. Older Americans are the most likely to be taking five or more drugs per month, at about 40% of the age-group population.
  • Total spending on prescription drugs in the US was more than $230 billion US Dollars (USD) in 2008, an increase of 50% from 1999.
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