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Thursday, April 2, 2015

One in Five Americans Take Drugs to Relax

It is becoming more and more common for American to take prescription drugs to relax. In the news today there is always talk about the prescription drug epidemic when it comes to painkillers. While opioids are addictive and carry a high potential for abuse, there are number of other drugs that are equally addictive, such as benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium.

New research suggests that nearly one in five Americans takes a drug to help them remain calm, NBC reports. The Gallup Poll findings, which included calls to more than 176,000 adults nationwide, showed that most who admitted to taking a drug to relax lived in both low income and happiness states. The research director of the Gallup-Healthways' well-being index, Dan Witters, believes that the rates exceed what was reported.

"I think it is reasonable to assume that some respondents may be understating their use just because they are talking to a live human being on the other side of the phone," Witters told NBC.

Alaskans reported the least drug use, with 13.5 percent saying they use drugs to calm down, according to the article. 

After West Virginia (28 percent), the states which reported the highest daily drug use were:
  • Rhode Island (26 percent)
  • Kentucky (24.5 percent)
  • Alabama (24.2 percent)
  • Louisiana (22.9 percent)
  • South Carolina (22.8 percent)
  • Mississippi, Missouri and Indiana (22 percent)
  • Oregon (21.9 percent).
“One possibility is that taking mood-altering drugs or medication nearly every day contributes to lower well-being,” Gallup noted. “But a more probable explanation is that Americans who already have lower well-being are more likely to use drugs or medication to relax or alter their mood, possibly to help cope with challenges related to their low purpose, social, financial, physical or community well-being.”

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