The consequences of medicine abuse, including emergency room episodes, treatment admissions and overdose deaths, have increased dramatically, and it is a behavior that is starting in adolescence. Every day, 2,500 teens use a prescription drug to get high for the first time, and the death toll from prescription painkillers alone has tripled in the past decade. Due to these high levels of prescription drug abuse, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in about a third of the states, outpacing fatalities from car accidents
Gary Pearce, Executive Director for Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention advised “Abuse of prescription drugs is a bigger problem than most people realize, especially among youth. We have to make our parents, our educators, our health professionals, our legislators and most importantly, adolescents themselves, aware of the pervasiveness of prescription drug abuse and its harmful consequence.”
Prescription drug abuse is the Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. While there has been a marked decrease in the use of some illegal drugs, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.
Some people experiment with prescription drugs because they think they will help them have more fun, lose weight, fit in, and even study more effectively. Prescription drugs can be easier to get than street drugs: Family members or friends may have them. But prescription drugs are also sold on the street like other illegal drugs and the dangers of these drugs are just as significant.
Talbot Partnership is encouraging Talbot County parents and the public-at-large to take action: first, by talking with the kids in their lives about the dangers of abusing prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and second, by safeguarding and properly disposing of unused medications.
For further information on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067.