Below are several graphs showing the growing problem of prescription-drug abuse in Maryland.
In the five years shown admissions related to opiate painkillers grew by 115 percent and those involving other prescription drugs doubled. Opiate painkillers have gone from involvement in 7 percent of 2005 admissions to over 15 percent of 2009, and other prescription drugs have gone from 2.4 to 5.2 percent.
White males made up half of opiate painkiller-related admissions and 41 percent of those involving other prescription drugs. In the general treatment population white males make up only a third of admissions. The contrast for white females is even more stark: they made up 36 percent of opiate prescription, 43 percent of other prescription and only 18 percent of total treatment admissions.
In terms of age, treatment admissions involving prescription drugs were more likely to be in their twenties than were other admissions; 43 percent of opiate and 41 percent of other prescription-related admissions were in the 21 to 30 age range compared to 28 percent for all admissions. Only 5 to 7 percent of prescription-related admissions were over 50 compared to 11 percent overall.
The other substance problems most often reported with opiate painkillers were alcohol and marijuana; heroin and alcohol were the leading co-occurring substance problems with other prescription drugs.
Among nearby states Maryland trailed Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia in estimated percentages of persons using pain relievers non-medically, based on the 2006-2007 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. In the 18 to 25 age group West Virginia trailed only Arkansas, with Tennessee, Nevada, Indiana, Washington, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut following with 15 percent or more.