Thursday, August 6, 2009

Secure medicine return

Yesterday, I attended a meeting about the proposed Washington State Secure Medicine Return Bill that was introduced in the House and the Senate this year but did not make it to the floor for a vote. Advocates for this bill include substance abuse prevention advocates (who are concerned about prescription drug abuse), environmentalists (who are concerned with medicines being found in our water), and law enforcement (who are concerned about controlled substances).

Group Health and Bartell Drugs have implemented successful medicine return programs and the bill would expand medicine return programs statewide. The bill will be re-introduced in the upcoming session and it is expected that the pharmaceutical industry will, once again, launch a strong campaign in opposition.

Did you know . . . .

-- Over half of those using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons obtained them from a friend or relative.

-- One-third of all new abusers of prescription drugs in 2005 were 12-17 year olds.

A community workgroup led by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington recently unveiled its King County 2008 drug trends report. It found:

-- Drug related deaths involving prescription opiates totaled 153 in 2008, more than double the number of deaths from any other substance.

-- While the numbers are very low in northeast Seattle, in King County, 8% of tenth grade students reported using prescription opiates to get high in the past month according to the Healthy Youth Survey.

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