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Are Americans Abusing Prescription Drugs?

Jessica Firger of Newsweek reports on estimates that 60 percent of Americans are taking at least one medication, according to a study in the journal of the American Medical Association.

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"Use of prescription medications for chronic disease has surged in the US in the past decade with roughly six in ten of us using at least one prescription drug."

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TRANSCRIPT This transcript was generated by AudioBurst technologies

More disturbing  news about the rising of people using prescription drugs. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association says use of prescription medications for chronic disease has surged in the US in the past decade with roughly six in ten of us using at least one prescription drugs. Here is Jessica Firger staff writer at Newsweek who covers health issues, Jessica what are we using these meds for anyway? - The medication that has seen the largest increase such as drugs for high blood pressure and statins for cholesterol and some other heart medications they are all to treat conditions  that typically emerge in patients who are overweight or obese so this rise in prescription drug use may very well reflect the increase in obesity in the country so that's a big problem. The other reason there might be an increase is really from better diagnostic techniques and just better early detection and intervention so there was also an increase in the use of antidepressants and the author suggest that maybe this is partially because there is less stigma around depression and patients are more likely to seek out treatment. - I mean just the headline of your story, estimates suggests 60 percent of Americans take at least one medication, and I am not making light of anybodies conditions but I feel like these days a doctor will prescribe something for anything. - Right I think that people there is always this idea that maybe there is a magic bullet and you know this country is not so great at preventive medicine and we tend to want to put a band aid when you get, when we develop a health condition. Interestingly there was just this other study that was finished that just finished up by the NIH its called a SPRINT Trail and well you know we are hearing a lot of news about that and that study looked at earlier intervention for higher blood pressure so really giving high blood medications to patients much earlier when their blood pressure is maybe I guess you would say tottering to be clinically high so I think in some cases we are seeing just more liberal use of certain medications, but there needs to be a lot of work in terms of improving preventive care in this country