Report: Idaho in top 10 for unprescribed drug use

July 5, 2013 

Idaho may have a problem with prescription drug abuse, according to a recent report by Ameritox, a company that monitors medications for doctors who prescribe commonly abused drugs.

The company reviewed urine samples collected in 2012 from at least 1,000 Idahoans. It analyzed whether each patient was actually taking a prescribed drug — if not, that could mean it's being sold or given to another person — and whether the patient was taking any unprescribed or illegal drugs.

Unprescribed drugs showed up in about 39 percent of samples from Idaho patients. That made Idaho one of the top 10 states for unprescribed drugs. The rate of Idaho patients whose samples didn't contain their prescribed drug also exceeded the national average of 35.9 percent.

The report offered several benign reasons why a person's urine sample might not contain a prescribed controlled substance. But it called Idaho's results "of concern" anyway.

"A recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration found that 71 percent of the time, the people who used pain relievers for nonmedical reasons in the past year got their painkillers from a friend or relative," the report said. "Though some patients may not take their medication for fear of addiction or unwanted side effects, when a prescription drug is not found in a sample it could mean that, either intentionally or unintentionally, the medication is being diverted to someone else."

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