Prescription drug abuse is the Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. While there has been a marked decrease in the use of some illegal drugs like cocaine, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.1 The same survey found that over 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain relievers got them from friends or relatives, while approximately 5 percent got them from a drug dealer or from the Internet.2 Additionally, the latest Monitoring the Future study—the Nation’s largest survey of drug use among young people—showed that prescription drugs are the second most-abused category of drugs after marijuana.3 In our military, illicit drug use increased from 5 percent to 12 percent among active duty service members over a three-year period from 2005 to 2008, primarily attributed to prescription drug abuse.
The President has outlined his vision of an America built to last—where an educated, skilled workforce has the knowledge, energy and expertise to compete in the global marketplace. Yet—for far too many Americans—that vision is limited by drug use, which not only limits the potential of the individual, but jeopardizes families, communities and neighborhoods.
The economic costs of drug use are enormous: In 2007 alone, illicit drug use cost our Nation more than $193 billion in lost productivity, healthcare, and criminal justice costs. But the human costs are worse. Nationwide, drug-induced overdose deaths now surpass homicides and car crash deaths in America.
The Obama Administration’s plan to reduce drug use and its consequences—the National Drug Control Strategy—represents a 21st century approach to drug policy. This science-based plan, guided by the latest research on substance use, contains more than 100 specific reforms to support our work to protect public health and safety in America.
2014 National Drug Control Strategy
- Learn about the President’s plan
- Read the full strategy
- Fact Sheet
- 2014 ONDCP Advocates for Action
- Performance Reporting System (PRS)
- 2014 Data Supplement
- The Opioid Epidemic
- 2/5/15 FACT SHEET: Administration Proposes Critical Investments to Tackle Prescription Drug Abuse, Heroin Use, and Overdose Deaths
- 7/22/16 President Obama signs the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016
- 9/19/16 FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week
- 10/27/16 FACT SHEET: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force Takes Steps to Ensure Americans Can Access Care
- 11/30/16 FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Marks Progress in Substance Use Disorder Prevention, Treatment, Recovery, and Research
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
President Obama hosts a community discussion on the prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic
East End Family Resource Center, Charleston, West Virginia