Health officials say the drug use by U.S. adults has increased dramatically since the Obama administration announced a national drug strategy in 2013.
In 2017, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said Americans were taking an average of 10.3 prescriptions a day.
That was more than twice the number in 2013, when it was 6.4.
And the number of Americans who have taken multiple medications has increased from 7% in 2013 to 10% in 2017, according to the Office on Drug Control and Violence.
Dr. Stephen Nissen, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Florida, said there are several factors that contribute to the increase.
One is the availability of cheaper prescription drugs.
He cited the rise in the number and cost of generics of medications, which have led to a surge in the availability and use of generic medications.
“People are able to use generics on a more affordable price point, and that makes sense,” he said.
Another factor is that many of the people who are taking these medications are on Medicaid, which provides health coverage to low-income people.
The United States is the only country in the world that does not have a single-payer health care system.
Instead, private insurance companies control the cost of prescription drugs, according the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
But Dr. Nisser says the trend is not a new phenomenon.
He said it is more likely to have occurred in recent years as the Affordable Care Act was passed and as the number on Medicaid grew.
If people who have been on Medicaid were able to get more prescriptions, he said, the number would be similar.
According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of all Americans aged 65 and older have used some type of prescription drug.
A 2017 report from the U-M Health System found that more than half of U.M. Medicaid enrollees are taking at least one prescription drug, including at least two or more at the same time.
And in a recent poll, 50% of Medicaid enrollee said they had taken a drug or another medication in the past year.
While most of these prescriptions are not covered by Medicaid, they do have health benefits.
Many of the drugs are prescribed to treat chronic pain and other conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said in its 2017 report.
These drugs have been shown to lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, and some are also used for weight loss.