Tuesday, May 20, 2014

National Prevention Week: Preventing prescription drug abuse

This week is National Prevention Week and today’s focus is preventing prescription drug abuse.

This video is from the Partnership at DrugFree.org Medicine Abuse Project:

Among NE Seattle teenagers, the abuse of prescription drugs has steadily increased over the past six years.  While the Prevention WINS Coalition is currently conducting a community assessment to determine what local conditions are contributing to this rise in abuse, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that “multiple factors are likely at work:

Misperceptions about their safety. Because these medications are prescribed by doctors, many assume that they are safe to take under any circumstances. This is not the case. Prescription drugs act directly or indirectly on the same brain systems affected by illicit drugs. Using a medication other than as prescribed can potentially lead to a variety of adverse health effects, including overdose and addiction.

Increasing environmental availability. Between 1991 and 2010, prescriptions for stimulants increased from 5 million to nearly 45 million and for opioid analgesics from about 75.5 million to 209.5 million.

Varied motivations for their abuse. Underlying reasons include: to get high; to counter anxiety, pain, or sleep problems; or to enhance cognition. Whatever the motivation, prescription drug abuse comes with serious risks.”

Individuals and organizations have roles to play in addressing these factors.  Everyone can: 
  • Educate their students, clients, co-workers, friends, neighbors, and families about the harms that are associated with the mis-use of medicines. 
  •  Lock up personal medications to prevent theft and the misuse by others in their home.
  • Dispose of unused medications either at a Group Health or participating Bartell pharmacy.  Some other pharmacies sell medicine return envelopes and the Drug Enforcement Administration hosts semi-annual medicine take-back days. 
  • Recognize and address anxiety, pain, and sleep problems that teenagers may be facing.

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