In America, pills are deadlier than car wrecks

America is in the throes of a prescription drug epidemic. More people die every day from that addiction than gunshot wounds, car accidents, or suicide—with 100 people losing their lives daily as a result of misusing medication.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse has some pretty shocking statistics detailing just how bad America’s addiction has become. For example: the US, which holds 5 percent of the world’s population, is responsible for 75 percent of global prescription drug use; 52 million people over the age of 12 have used this medication for purposes outside of what they are intended for; enough painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult every four hours for a month; over half of these pills are obtained for free from a friend or family member; there are 5.1 million abusers of painkillers, 2.2 million who illegitimately take tranquilizers, and 1.1 million needlessly popping stimulants…

The stats on drug abuse at the hands of America’s older generations make for worrying reading: 55 million prescriptions for opioids were written for over-65s in 2013, a 20 percent increase over five years. Emergency room visits by over-55s for pharmaceutical misuse more than doubled between 2007-2011—and there is more damage than ever before being caused to seniors’ lives as a result.