Prescription drugs are medically necessary for the life, happiness, and comfort of millions of people. Some 4.3 billion prescriptions were written in 2018, offering individuals pain relief, abatement of mental disorders, symptom management, and temporary relief for injuries and surgeries. But, with 131 million people, or some 66% of all U.S. adults, receiving prescription medication, that system will sometimes go wrong. This is especially evident in the case of drugs like amphetamines, opioids, and benzodiazepines, which serve a valuable purpose, but are addictive, and damaging to mental and physical health when abused.
This knowledge has led to a recent reduction in duration and volume of prescriptions for these types of drugs. But in 2017, 17% of Americans still held at least one opioid prescription, with a nationwide average of 58 opioid prescriptions per 100 people.