Infographic: Prescription Drug Misuse

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Infographic: Prescription Drug MisuseTranscript:

In 2017, nearly 6 million Americans aged 12 or older reported misusing prescription drugs at least once in the past month.

Prescription Drugs Consist Of…

Painkillers, including opioids such as Vicodin and OxyCotin.

Stimulants, including amphetamines like Adderall and Ritalin.

Sedatives, including benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax.


Painkillers are used to numb discomfort and are typically prescribed after a surgery or to treat chronic pain.

  • They were the most frequently misused form of prescription drug in 2017.
  • In 2017, 3.2 million Americans reported past-month misuse of prescription painkillers.
  • Painkillers abuse can lead to liver damage, cardiovascular issues, and respiratory failure.


Amphetamines and other stimulants speed up functions in the brain and body, making users feel more alert.

  • In 2017, 1.8 million Americans reported past-month misuse of prescription stimulants.
  • Misuse of amphetamines can result in seizures, memory loss, and paranoia.


Benzodiazepines and other sedatives are generally prescribed to reduce anxiety.

  • In 2017, 352,000 Americans reported past-month misuse of benzos and other sedatives.
  • Misuse of benzos can cause memory loss, aggressive behavior, and depression.

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018) Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 18-5068, NSDUH Series H-53). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from

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