The Science - Prescriptions

Summary of the Science

Easy Access to Prescription Drugs

70% of people who misuse prescription drugs got them from a friend or relative (NSDUH, 2009-2010). Prescriptions for these commonly misused medications have increased drastically in recent years. Since 1999, the amount of opioid painkiller prescribed in the US increased by 300%, mirroring the increase in overdose deaths (CDC, Vital Signs, Nov. 4, 2011).


Prescription drug misuse causes more than half of the drug overdose deaths in the United States every year (NIDA, 2020). deaths from prescription drug misuse among youth ages 15-25 have been on the decline (NIDA, 2020).

Prescription Drug Abuse Among Youth

Nationally, about 1 in 4 teens have misused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime, representing a 33% increase since 2008 (Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, 2013).

What does use look like in Texas?
  • 19% of middle and high school students have prescriptions drugs that weren’t prescribed to them. 7% have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the last month.
  • Codeine cough syrup is the most commonly misused prescription drug among youth.
  • 22% of Texas college students have used prescription drugs to get high.