DEC 18, 2018 7:03 PM PST

Increasing Misuse of Prescription Drugs

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to a study published in Psychiatric Services in Advance, misuse of prescription drugs accounts for more than 17 percent of overall use. In the study, the misuse of prescription drugs is defined as “any way a doctor did not direct, including using the drug without a prescription or more often or longer than prescribed”. One type of misused drug is a class of medications prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety and insomnia—known as benzodiazepines.


Benzodiazepines include Alprazolam (Xanax, Niravam) diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan) and others.

Using data retrieved in 2015 and 2016 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the researcher’s analysis confirmed there were differences in the data analysis that was performed from 2013 and 2014 with about 4 to 6 percent of adults used benzodiazepines. Now, the study was the first to find that benzodiazepine use was the highest older adults between 50 to 64 years (13 percent). In previous estimates, found the highest use of benzodiazepine was among those 65 and older. Women were found to be highly likely than men to report any use of benzodiazepines, however, men more likely to report misuse.

Learn more about the misuse of prescription drugs:

In recent years, Benzodiazepine has been under controversy because of possible harms and need for safer alternatives especially with crisis of the opioid epidemic. Data analysis concluded that the misuse of prescribed benzodiazepine was correlated with the misuse of or dependence on prescription opioid-based drug or stimulant.

Reasons for benzodiazepines misuse include the need to relax or relieve tension with over a quarter reporting the need to sleep. For those who take benzodiazepines that was never prescribed, the most commonly reported source was family or friends.

Source: Psychiatric Services, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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