More people die from overdosing on pharmaceutical drugs than illegal drugs, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on their website, citing an average of 23,000 deaths relating to prescription pharmaceutical drugs per year.
Teenagers in particular are at greater risk of overdosing on prescription drugs than they are on illicit street drugs. It’s a disproportionate effect that has a worrying trend, where anxiety related issues in teenagers are the propelling reason for the drug abuse.
Drugs such as OxyContin are now more likely to kill people than Heroin. Tricyclic Antidepressants are also more likely to kill, due to the ignorance in the community of the dangers of these pharmaceutical prescriptions pushed on them by Big Pharma.
Prescription opioid epidemic
The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic.
Opioids (including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin) killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, more than any year on record.
At least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.
White collar drug dealers
The 2014 study The Legal High: Factors Affecting Young Consumers’ Risk Perceptions and Abuse of Prescription Drugs considered aggressive advertising by drug companies and drug pushing by doctors to be a large part of the problem. Big Pharma mass markets their availability to parents and children with the message that safety and benefits outweighing the risks.
“Teens need help before they reach these tipping points for prescription drug abuse. Adults spotting teens with very high levels of anxiety and at least moderate use of other restricted substances should realize that these are students with a high likelihood of prescription drug abuse.”
“Male teens with a high need to be popular and teens in general appear to be at exceptional risk. Campaigns must target parents as well, since they clearly underestimate both the physical risks of prescription drugs and the likelihood that their children will abuse these drugs,” concluded the authors of the study conducted into the use of prescription drugs to combat anxiety related issues.
 Thunder, M. (2015, March 26). Study: Pharmaceuticals Kill More Teens Than Illegal Substances In The US. Retrieved from http://reset.me/study/study-pharmaceuticals-kill-more-teens-than-illegal-substances-in-the-us/
 Netemeyer, R., Burton, S., Delaney, B., & Hijjawi, G. (2014, December). The Legal High: Factors Affecting Young Consumers’ Risk Perceptions and Abuse of Prescription Drugs. [American Marketing Association Journal]. Retrieved from http://journals.ama.org/doi/abs/10.1509/jppm.14.073
 American Marketing Association. (2015, March 24). Legally high? Teenagers and prescription drug abuse. Retrieved from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-03/ama-lht032415.php