The United States Senate introduced a resolution on September 12th, naming October as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Drugs now kill more people than motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. — a monumental shift that that reflects a troubling rise in prescription drug abuse. More than 6 million people ages 12 or older have abused a prescription drug and one in 10 youth ages 12 through 17, or 2,400,000 children, reports having intentionally abused cough medicine to get high.
National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month urges communities to educate parents and youth of the potential dangers associated with prescription and OTC medicine abuse.
According to Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention, drug overdoses and brain damage linked to long-term drug abuse killed an estimated 37,485 people in 2009, the latest year for which preliminary data are available, surpassing the toll of traffic accidents by 1,201. And the number is likely to rise as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prepares to release its official statistics in December.
Many teens think these drugs are safe because they have legitimate uses, but taking them without a prescription to get high or “self-medicate” can be as dangerous – and addictive – as using street narcotics and other illicit drugs.
What can you do to help prevent teens or any other person from getting involved with prescription drug abuse? The best thing to do is keep your prescription drugs in a safe place: don’t put them in the medicine cabinet in your bathroom because that is the first place teenager’s will look. If possible, lock them up in a cabinet or safe box. Secondly, safely dispose of unused and unwanted pharmaceuticals.
For further information on the dangers of prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067 or firstname.lastname@example.org