What We're Reading: Psychiatric Drug Use Among Adults

What we're reading, December 13, 2016: 1 in 6 American adults are prescribed psychiatric drugs; veterans groups want Donald Trump to keep the current Veterans Affairs secretary; and the number of drug-affected newborns is rising more in rural areas.

One in 6 American adults were prescribed a psychiatric drug in the past year, and the number is higher for white Americans. According to TIME, white Americans are twice as likely as other racial groups to report taking antidepressants, antipsychotics, and similar drugs. Only 9% of Hispanics, 10% of blacks, and 5% of Asians were prescribed psychiatric drugs, compared with more than 20% of white Americans. Antidepressants were the most common psychiatric prescription filled in the last year, and the majority (80%) were taking psychiatric drugs for long-term use.

As President-elect Donald J. Trump meets with an ever-growing number of people to fill various positions in his administration, there is one person he is being asked to keep. Groups that represent veterans want Trump to keep the current secretary of Veterans Affairs, picked by President Barack Obama, reported The New York Times. The groups prefer Robert A. McDonald because they are concerned about the inexperience of Trump’s rumored candidates and how they would impact the veterans healthcare system. A total of 5 groups representing hundreds of thousands of veterans have thrown their weight behind McDonald.

Driven by the rising use of opioids, the number of drug-affected infants being born has increased sharply, and AP reported that rural areas are being affected more. In 2004, the problem was about the same in rural and urban areas, but the rural rate has climbed to 8 births affected for every 1000 births compared with just 5 in 1000 births in urban areas. These newborns are at risk for withdrawal symptoms, such as problems with breathing, sleeping, and feeding, and may need to be hospitalized for weeks or months to be treated.