The abuse of prescription substances has been labeled an epidemic in the United States by the White House Administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP).
Drugs like Vicodin and Adderall are commonly misperceived as safer alternatives to street drugs, presenting a unique and dangerous set of circumstances to youth especially.
Prescription medication abuse currently accounts for the second most commonly abused category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and substances. What can we do to prevent this epidemic from worsening? Experts recommend steps for stopping prescription addiction across all levels of community involvement.
Parents and Educators: The Role of Effective Anti-Drug Messages
Youth who misunderstand the dangerous effects of prescription drugs simply lack proper education in the matter. Left to assumption only, prescription substances appear to onlookers as medicines and are associated with safety, wellness and health. In other words, if these pills come from a doctor, they can’t be harmful.
Ever-increasing levels of prescription drug accessibility places uneducated youth at risk. By taking the time to properly indoctrinate your students and your own children, the epidemic can be nipped in the bud. Most importantly, parents: don’t forget that the best drug education begins in the home.
The Role of Physicians in Reducing Prescription Addiction
Individual physicians and healthcare providers maintain a unique and vital role in the task of stopping prescription addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 80% of the American population had some level of contact with a medical professional (doctor or nurse) in the past 12 months. With consistent screening methods and watchful prescribing practices, physicians themselves can both prevent and detect prescription drug abuse, and recommend treatment where appropriate.
For the millions of Americans who are addicted to powerful prescription substances and remain in desperate need of proper treatment, effective recovery and rehabilitative strategies are needed. Many successful drug rehab centers accept insurance or offer payment plans in order to make treatment more accessible to addicts and their families.
Everyday Safe Prescription Practices
- Dispose of your leftover prescriptions safely and responsibly, as with a local prescription drop station. Look online for an Operation Medicine Cabinet program or similar law enforcement group which will accept a drop-off of your old prescriptions.
- Keep current prescriptions safely stored away, and monitor the amount of pills you have on hand. An unlocked medicine cabinet can be worse than a street drug dealer.
- Look at alternative or natural remedies over prescription medications. Although painkillers are often highly medically necessary, reducing the number of opioid prescriptions will in turn reduce the likelihood of abuse. If appropriate, talk to your doctor about alternative treatment options.
- Before taking a prescription or giving one to your child, seek multiple opinions and do your own research first. A doctor may recommend a prescription in a rush without fully covering all the important details and risks first. Where this is the case, do your homework before accepting a prescription drug.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s research, the non-medical misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is the fastest-growing drug problem in our nation. Creating an impact on this national issue may not be an easy task, but with community-wide use of these simple tips, we will begin to see a decrease in trends.
For more information on prescription drug prevention, or to get help for yourself or a loved one contact Narconon at 800-468-6933.