There’s a potentially deadly drug in your medicine cabinet – even though you may have obtained it legally! I’m talking about prescription drugs, and according to NBC News, they’re becoming a huge problem. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says nearly 7 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs. That’s more than the number who are abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, ecstasy, and inhalants combined. This isn’t just a problem among adults: Almost one in five teenagers abuses prescription drugs. Although parents might warn their kids about pot or alcohol – they’re least likely to warn their kids about abusing prescription drugs.
Now, although prescription drug abuse is a problem in every state and province, it’s a really big problem in Kentucky. Kentucky led the nation in the use of prescription drugs for non-medical purposes last year, and almost 500 people died in Kentucky from prescription drug overdoses. Law enforcement officials in Kentucky say prescription drug abuse is an epidemic among teens because they’re highly addictive. It starts out as a party drug, then kids start doing it every day, and it takes compete control of their life. At the height of addiction, people will pop 50 pills a day.
So how are people getting the prescription drugs? People are buying pills over the internet, kids are stealing them from their parents and grandparents, they’re getting them from street dealers, trading them in school, and three million doses are stolen from pharmacies annually! It turns out, Florida has become notorious as a destination for addicts and drug dealers from around the country. They’re drawn to the many pain clinics in Florida – some of which dispense hundreds of painkillers at a time after only a hasty medical exam. If YOU think someone you know is abusing prescription drugs, they need to get help. Addictive behaviors are things like lying, hiding pills, obsessively counting them, making unnecessary emergency room visits and constantly “doctor shopping.” Parents, make sure your kids DO NOT have access to your prescriptions. If you – or someone you know – needs help, go to the website for substance abuse samhsa.gov.