DEA finds growing prescription drug abuse

Michael DoyleMcClatchy Newspapers

Heroin was easier to get in the United States last year but cocaine was less available in some regions, according to the latest Drug Enforcement Administration's drug threat assessment.

The 28-page report, though, noted that prescription drug abuse "continues to be the nation’s fastest growing drug problem." According to the agency,  pain relievers are the most commonly abused prescription drugs and are the ones most commonly involved in overdose incidents.

Twenty eight percent of law enforcement responding to the DEA's survey identified prescription drugs as their biggest drug problem, up from 9 percent in 2009.

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), the estimated number of emergency department visits involving non-medical use of prescription opiates increased 112 percent—84,671 to  179,787—between 2006 and 2010.

Michael Doyle
McClatchy Washington Bureau