Prescription Drug Concerns
In the US, between 2004 - 2008, the number of Emergency Department (ED) visits for non-medical use of prescription pain medications (opiod analgesics) increased 111%; for the use of anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazipines) ED visits increased 89%.
In 2004 there were 1 million ED visits for illicit drugs and 1/2 million for prescription pain drugs.
In 2008 there were 1 million ED visits for illicit drugs and 1 million visits for prescription pain drugs.
From: Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) - a division of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - US Dept of Health
In a 2008 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans die from prescription drug overdoses than in auto accidents.
October is Medicine Abuse Awareness Month
Dispose of any drugs when you no longer need them or when the expiration date is reached. This includes over-the-counter medications. Leftover medications in your medicine cabinet put people at risk for theft, abuse, unintentional poisoning and suicide.
Do not flush unused drugs down the toilet or wash them down the sink - this can cause problems in the sewage treatment plant, and for downstream water users.
You may put drugs in the garbage by dumping them out of the bottle into some "wet" garbage, such as coffee grounds, spoiled food, cat litter, etc. Then seal in a plastic bag or container and put it in your garbage can.
The Missoula Police Department has a
City Hall - 435 Ryman St.
The drop box is inside the south door which is located at the back (parking lot side) of the building, facing the Mountain Line bus transfer area.
- Drop-offs are confidential and free.
- Items that CANNOT be accepted: needles, chemo/radioactive drugs, non-pharmaceutical waste.
At this time, it is illegal to give any unused but un-expired prescription medication to anyone else for any reason.
Overdoses involving prescription painkillers are at epidemic levels and now kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined. CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. Fall 2011
Prescription drug abuse can be just as addictive and dangerous as illegal drug use. Anyone can abuse prescription drugs, but teens are at a higher risk.
Teens use prescription drugs to get high, relieve stress, or to self-medicate. Montana ranks 3rd in the nation for teen abuse of prescription pain relievers. It is important that you talk with your teens about the dangers of drug abuse since they will likely be hearing about the "fun" of abuse at school.
In the last year, nearly 10% of teens admitted to abusing prescription drugs. For information about how to talk about, monitor and dispose of prescription drugs, visit The Partnership at Drug Free.org.
To protect your family and your medications, remove all prescription drugs from your bathroom medicine cabinet or any other place where they are easily accessible and store them in a locked cabinet or drawer especially if:
- your house is for sale and buyers or agents might be wandering through
- teenagers come and go
- you suspect a drug abuse problem in a person who might visit your house
- someone in your household might be suicidal
- there are small children in your home
|Most people who abuse prescription drugs
get them from someone they know.
Prescription drug abuse - from Kids Health.org
Signs of prescription drug abuse - from Help Guide.org
Accidental drug overdose information - from Drugless.org
Most common prescription drugs that can be abused:
Some prescription drugs can become addictive, especially when they are used in a manner inconsistent with their labeling or for reasons they were not prescribed. Those include narcotic painkillers like OxyContin or Vicodin, sedatives and tranquilizers like Xanax or Valium, and stimulants like Dexedrine, Adderall or Ritalin.
Opioids - oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), methadone, Percocet, fentanyl.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants - pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax)
Stimulants - methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
Nationally, admissions to state-funded addiction treatment facilities for prescription pain medication abuse (opiates) in 2009 was nearly equal to methamphetamine addiction admissions.
Admissions for the primary abuse of opiates, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine, have increased steadily over the last decade, from 1.2% in 1998 to 5.9% in 2008. Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS)
|In Montana in 2009,
more people died
from prescription drug overdoses
than died in traffic crashes.
Make sure you understand why you have been prescribed a medication, when and how to take it, and what foods, beverages or activities to avoid while taking it. Your pharmacist and doctor can answer any questions.
An accidental drug overdose can cause organ damage, brain damage, an accident, or death. To prevent an accidental drug overdose always make sure that you:
- take the right drug
- for the right reason
- at the right time
- in the right amount
- with the right food, beverage or other medication
- and that is is for the right person
Tips for Taking Prescription Pain Medications, Depressants or Stimulants:
Doctors know how much medication to prescribe so that it's just enough for you. Since some prescription medications can be addictive, it is very important to follow the directions exactly. Here are some other ways to protect yourself:
- Keep all doctor's appointments.
- Make a note of the effects the drug has on your body and emotions, especially in the first few days as your body gets used to it. Tell your doctor about these.
- Keep any information your pharmacist gives you about any drugs or activities you should steer clear of while taking your prescription. If the information is too complicated, ask or your pharmacist to give you the highlights.
- Don't increase or decrease the dose of your medication without checking with your doctor's office first — no matter how you're feeling.
- Never use someone else's prescription, and don't allow a friend to use yours. That can put both of you at risk.
Additional tips for the proper use of any prescription medication:
- Report all over-the-counter medication use to your health care provider, including vitamins and supplements.
- Follow the doctors recommendations for taking the drug. If you are taking an antibiotic, be sure to take it all, as directed, even if you are feeling better!!
- If you have any "unusual" physical or emotional changes shortly after beginning the drug, contact your pharmacist or health care provider.
- Carry a list of your medications (including prescription, over-the-counter, and supplements) with you in the event of any medical emergency.
- Post a list of your medications and any personal medical information on your refrigerator. That is where an emergency responder would check for your personal information.
- Report all your prescription medications and dietary supplements to your health care provider and your pharmacist so they can watch for potential drug interactions.
- Read the label of any over-the-counter drugs you plan to take to make sure there will be no drug interactions.
- Do not demand to be given antibiotics for viral diseases.
- Never use an out-dated medication. Strength can decrease---or increase.
Each year in the US, one of every 150 two-year-olds visits an emergency room for treatment of an accidental medication overdose. In recent years, the number of accidental overdoses in young children has increased by 20 percent.
Any vitamin or medicine, even those you buy without a prescription, can cause harm if taken improperly.
All medicines and vitamins should be stored in a place that's too high for children to reach or see. Always put medicines away after you use them. Never leave them out on a kitchen counter or a sick child's bedside, even if you have to give the medicine again in a few hours.
Make sure safety caps are locked after you use medicines. If it's a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear a click.
Teach children about medicine safety. Never tell children that medicine is candy to get them to take it.
Ask visitors and houseguests to keep purses, bags or coats that have medicines in them up and away and out of sight when they are in your home.
Be prepared for emergencies. Program the poison control number (1-800-222-1222) into home and cellphones.
"Even with improvements to packaging, no medication package can be 100 percent childproof," Dr. Richard Dart, president of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, said in the news release. "Poison centers receive calls every day about young children getting into medicines without adult supervision; that's why we encourage all parents and caregivers to follow these simple steps to ensure their child's safety."
U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, news release, Dec. 13, 2011
QUICK TEST - for parents to help evaluate whether or not their child may be abusing drugs or alcohol.
Suicide in usually not about dying, it is about escaping the pain caused by a problem that a person sees as un-solvable. Offering support to someone dealing with a problem and getting them help from a professional can often prevent suicide.
In 2007, Montana had the second highest rate of suicide in the nation.
QPR Institute - Question, Persuade, Refer - a method for lay people to identify family or friends who may be at risk for suicide, and how to offer support.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
A drug overdose is the second leading method of suicide in the US (guns are the first). If you think someone living in your house, or who comes to your house frequently might have suicidal tendencies, then in addition to talking to them about it, lock up all your medications, as well as any weapons (like guns). Easy access to lethal means makes impulsive actions like suicide easier. Even some seemingly harmless over-the-counter drugs can cause death when taken in massive quantities.
U.S. emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts by young adult males rose 55 percent between 2005 and 2009.
ER visits for drug-related suicide attempts involving antidepressants among young adult males in those four years jumped 155 percent, and cases involving anti-anxiety and insomnia medications rose 93 percent.
Emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts involving narcotic pain relievers nearly doubled among men aged 35 to 49, and almost tripled among men aged 50 and older.
These findings are based on data from the 2005-09 Drug Abuse Warning Network reports.
Over-The-Counter drug abuse:
Many common, over-the-counter drugs (those available without a prescription) contain ingredients that, when taken in excess, can cause mental stimulation, or "a high". They can also cause organ damage that could lead to death. It is important that teens and young adults understand the risks associated with any form of drug abuse or over-use.
Links to further information
Educate Before You Medicate - National Council on Patient Information and Education
Safe Medication - Source for drug information
drugless.org - a partnership for drug abuse prevention, intervention and treatment (including prescription drugs)
SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - US Dept of Health
Identified meth contaminated properties in the Montana and their clean-up status. This list is managed by the Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality.
Missoula Measures - selected data, links and other information on scores of topics related to health and quality of life in Missoula, Montana.
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