This coming weekend is National Drug Take-Back Day, a day set aside for people to safely and quickly dispose of unwanted prescription drugs. Not only does Take-Back Day help keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands, but it helps create awareness for a problem that continues to grow in our country.
Help for Parents
Parents may find their local take-back program to be helpful because it provides a way for them to get unwanted medications out of the house. Medicine cabinets are a source of many of the drugs that teens abuse these days. Rather than buying and using illicit street drugs, kids can now raid their parents’ medicine cabinets, or that of a neighbor or relative. Parents need to be more alert and keep prescription painkillers and other dangerous drugs safely locked away, or dispose of them if unneeded.
More people need to be made aware, however, that it is not just teens who are abusing prescription drugs. For many people, a legitimate injury or ailment lands them in a doctor’s office, getting prescriptions to help manage the pain. These pain meds can be effective in granting relief, but they are also known to be very addicting. Patients can quickly become addicted to their pain medications when they self-medicate for fear that the pain will come back, or use the pills for an extended period of time or in large doses. Many patients, hoping to remain pain-free, have become a part of the national prescription drug abuse epidemic.
Prescription Drug Abuse Among Others
Then there are people with mental health issues, or the elderly, or others already abusing drugs who may seek out prescription drugs to help manage some emotional issues. These are the pushed-to-the-max soccer mom who relies on prescription drugs for her pick-me-up, the addict who finds it easier to doctor shop than to purchase illicit drugs on the street, or the elderly person who uses mood stabilizers to help them forget about their lonely life.
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The White House has recently increased efforts to stop the prescription drug epidemic from growing, and this kind of action is definitely necessary. Statistics from the journal Pain Physician state that “Americans, constituting only 4.6 percent of the world’s population, have been consuming 80 percent of the global opioid supply, and 99 percent of the global hydrocodone supply.” (1) Many of those using prescription drugs are doing so illegally.
This year’s Drug Take-Back Day is being promoted along with the government’s new anti-drug initiative. It is designed to be more than a single day event, however. On April 30th, locations across the country will be accepting drop offs of unwanted prescription drugs for safe disposal. But they are hoping that the awareness for this problem lasts longer than just one day. They are hoping Americans learn about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and help the cause by keeping their prescriptions out of the wrong hands.