2,500 New Teens Will "Try" Prescription Drugs Today.
Most of us know that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but did you know it’s also “Talk About Prescriptions” Month? Prescription drug abuse is an enormous problem in this country. By the end of the day another 7,000 people in the U.S. will abuse a prescription drug for the first time and about 1/3 of them are teenagers.* That’s 12 times more than those who will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
“70 percent of those who misuse these products and abuse them get them from family or friends, usually for free, often from the family medicine cabinet,” says Ken Hale, RPh, PhD with the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy.
Dr. Hale lectures about this problem as a pharmacy professor. He says many young people assume prescription medications are safer than street drugs and they are more likely to try them - and they're doing so in alarming numbers.
"The abuse of prescription drugs now exceeds all of the illegal street drugs that they measure combined, except marijuana,” he says.
It started with just one pill for Jessica Trickett. When she counsels patients about the dangers of addiction, she knows what she’s talking about. Trickett first abused prescription medicine and became addicted while studying psychology in college.
“The first time I tried them it was with a couple of friends, and they were taking them recreationally and so I tried one,” says Trickett.
To help stop this growing trend, Hale has teamed up with Cardinal Health, one of the nation’s largest healthcare companies, to create an online toolkit. Pharmacists and community leaders use the toolkit in meetings to educate parents and share these medicine cabinet musts: First - put your medicines under lock and key. When you no longer need them, get rid of them properly. You can mix them with garbage, seal them in a bag and put them in the trash. Do not pour them down the drain or flush them. Finally, don’t share your prescription medicine with anyone.
Hale and Trickett urge parents to talk to their children about peer pressure this school year, because taking even one pill without a prescription is one too many.
“It’s not okay to just do every once in a while, because it can lead you down this path, and you do not want to go down this path. It’s not a joke. This is a disease that kills,” says Trickett.
To learn more about the problem and find ways to stop it, go online to get the toolkit at http://www.cardinalhealth.com/generationrx.
Prescription Drugs Facts & Figures Office of National Drug Control Policy, retrieved September 2010 from: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/prescrptn_drgs/rx_ff.html