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America's Massive Intake of Prescription Drugs in Five Charts

America’s relationship with prescription drugs has deepened over the past few decades. Pharmaceutical companies invented new therapies to treat such common conditions as high cholesterol and depression, and insurance coverage of those medications expanded, particularly in the wake of the 2006 Medicare drug plan.

The Centers for Disease Control’s annual snapshot of U.S. health, released Wednesday, shows the growing role medication plays in our lives. By the end of the last decade almost half of Americans were taking at least one prescription medication, up 10 percent from two decades ago. The proportion taking five or more drugs more than doubled, even after accounting for an an aging population.