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Many Americans continue to misuse prescription drugs in ways that may jeopardize their health, particularly combining dangerous combinations of medicines, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The rate at which drugs were misused was 52 percent last year, according to an analysis of approximately 3.4 million de-identified laboratory test results. The so-called misuse rate is down a wee bit from 54 percent in 2015, but marks a notable decline from the 63 percent rate found in 2011, according to Quest Diagnostics (DGX), the laboratory testing company, which conducted the analysis.


In running the analysis, Quest sifted through the laboratory test results for what it called inconsistencies, which were defined as a patient taking a medicine with other drugs for which they don’t have a prescription, a prescription drug that was not taken as expected, or patients who skipped doses.

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  • Since recreational marijuana is legal in eight states and medical marijuana legal in 29 states we can disregard the data on the weed. Also to jump from urine drug samples, which are not quantitative to a conclusion of frank misuse is a pretty sweeping generalization.

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