The Prescription Drug Problem
A New American Crisis?
by Ryan D. Schroeder, Jason A. Ford, and George E. Higgins
February 2019, 202pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5769-0
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5770-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Today’s prescription drug crisis in the U.S. is treated much differently by both the public and politicians than prior drug epidemics have been. Why?

Providing an indispensable resource for undergraduate students, graduate students, and policymakers interested in the prescription drug abuse crisis in the United States, this book summarizes the current state of prescription drug abuse and its growth over the past 20 years.

The Prescription Drug Problem analyzes the growth of the prescription drug abuse problem from 1994 to 2014 and includes comparisons to marijuana and hard drug use during the same period. Specific attention is given to prescription opiate abuse and the transition from prescription opiates to heroin.

The book begins with a broad overview of the prescription drug problem in the U.S., while the text presents stories of celebrities who have struggled with prescription drug abuse, highlights a handful of ordinary Americans who are battling prescription drug abuse, and examines as case studies a few communities that have been ravaged by prescription drug abuse. Drawing upon demographic patterns of abuse to identify causes of and factors contributing to prescription drug abuse as well as possible solutions to the problem, the book is designed to provide a broad overview of the prescription drug abuse problem in the U.S. and stimulate additional research.


  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the prescription drug crisis in the U.S.
  • Compares the current prescription drug abuse crisis in the U.S. to past drug epidemics in U.S. history
  • Identifies the most common causes of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.
  • Examines possible solutions to prescription drug abuse in the U.S.
  • Questions the public and political reactions to the prescription drug abuse problem
Ryan D. Schroeder is professor and department chair in the Department of Sociology at the University of Louisville. He has published dozens of journal articles and book chapters addressing crime and deviance, with a specific focus on issues related to drug use, families, and religion. In 2009, he received the James F. Short Outstanding Article Award from the Crime, Law, and Deviance section of the American Sociological Association for a paper published in the American Journal of Sociology.

Jason A. Ford is associate professor of sociology at the University of Central Florida. He has a PhD in sociology with a major area of concentration in crime and deviance and a minor area of concentration in quantitative methodology. His research on prescription drug abuse, analyzing data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, examines theories of abuse, gender differences in abuse, abuse among racial/ethnic groups and college students, abuse of specific classes of prescription drugs, sources of diversion, sports involvement and abuse, religiosity and abuse, and negative outcomes associated with abuse.

George E. Higgins is professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Louisville. He received his PhD in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2001 and is the current editor of the Journal of Criminal Justice Education. His most recent publications appear or are forthcoming in Journal of Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Justice Quarterly, Deviant Behavior, and Youth and Society.
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