This story in The Washington Post examines why prescription drug abuse is nowhere near levels experienced in the USA. Doctor shopping is virtually impossible in the UK as most patients visit only one practice, have prescriptions written on official pads, and their doctors have access to full prescription records. Patients do not pay their doctors directly so medical staff are less tempted to prescribe to keep patients happy. In the UK OxyContin is considered similar to morphine and used sparingly. Vicodin isn't licensed. Ibuprofen and paracetamol are available over the counter but pack size is usually restricted. In other recent stories, America's third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day collected 188.5 tons of prescription medicines, and we have an item in 'Statistics' giving the latest figures on prescription drug related deaths in the USA.
Very different pictures of prescription drug abuse in UK and USA