Prescription Drug Addiction Prompts Local Drug Take-Back Programs

Prescription Drug Addiction Prompts Local Drug Take-Back Programs

Lawrence County, IN, is just one of many communities around the country participating in a nationwide prescription drug "take-back" program aimed at reducing the country's soaring rate of prescription drug addiction.

Local residents are being asked to make a difference by clearing out their medicine cabinets of unneeded prescription drugs, and dropping them off at designated disposal sites around the community, such as police stations and fire halls.

Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig said he has wanted to see the program in operation locally for some time. The sheriff told a local newspaper he's been trying to raise community awareness to how prevalent prescription drug addiction has become in their county.

Prescription drugs are becoming the drugs of choice, and not just in Lawrence County, but across the country. Jennifer de Vallance, from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said versions of the local take-back program are occurring all around the country as a step in reducing the country's epidemic of prescription drug addiction and abuse.

"We're still at about 6 million Americans who use prescription drugs explicitly to get high," de Vallance said. "It's really important that people reduce the likelihood that drugs will be diverted and abused, by reducing access at home to people that shouldn't have them."

One of the reasons is that prescription drugs are easily accessible around the home, in medicine cabinets, on bedside tables, or out on kitchen counters. Family members, particularly teens and young adults, and even neighborhood friends, are pilfering prescription drugs from parents, grandparents, relatives and neighbors at increasing rates. Far too many of them wind up among the ranks of young Americans suffering from prescription drug addiction and abuse, landing in hospital emergency wards and local jails, or worse, in the morgue.

With any narcotic pain killer prescription drug, addiction and dependence can occur rapidly, and cause unexpected death when combined with other medications or alcohol. Top of the list are the pain killers hydrocodone, found in popular brands such as Lortab or Vicodin, and oxycodone, the active narcotic in brands like OxyContin and Percocet.

Oxycodone is a major player in the nation's prescription drug addiction epidemic.

It is so dangerous, and so widely abused, that in almost every country in the world it is among the most strongly controlled substances that has an accepted medical use. The problem of narcotic prescription drug addiction is not limited to the U.S.

Everyone can help keep drugs out of the hands of potential abusers and those already victims of prescription drug abuse by making sure current prescriptions are locked up in safe place. And you can help achieve additional protection from prescription drug addiction in your community by helping establish a program that, like the Lawrence County program, properly disposes of outdated and unused prescription drugs.

The consequences of prescription drug addiction are all too often seen at funeral parlors and grave sites, where mourning families wonder what went wrong. If anyone you know and care about has a prescription drug addiction or abuse problem, contact the nearest medical drug detox facility and ask for a consultation. You won't regret it, and you might save a life.

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