At some point, most Americans have used prescription drugs or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to alleviate an illness, whether it’s a pain or to curb a cough. Unfortunately, too many young people and adults are abusing these drugs for a quick high. In response to the country’s medicine abuse epidemic, the Jackson County Substance Awareness Committee is meeting monthly to address this issue and receive community input on how to solve this problem. The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m., on Monday, Oct. 26, at the Jackson County Health Department, 401 W. Tamarack Rd.
National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month is observed annually in October. The national campaign, sponsored by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), aims to educate parents and youth of the potential dangers associated with prescription and OTC medicine abuse.
According to the CADCA, National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month promotes the message that over-the-counter and prescription medicines are to be taken only as labeled or prescribed, and that using such medicines to get high or in large doses can cause serious or life-threatening consequences. It also starts a conversation about safe disposal.
Nationally, prescription drugs are the second most abused category of drugs after marijuana, with one in five young adults reporting that they have abused a prescription drug. In addition, the 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey found that five percent of teens have abused over-the-counter cough medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan to get high over the past year. When abused in extreme excess, sometimes as much as 25 to 50 times the recommended dose, dextromethorphan can produce dangerous side effects, especially when combined with alcohol, illicit drugs, or certain prescription drugs.
The CADCA reports that, coalitions are seeing reductions in youth prescription drug abuse. According to the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program’s 2014 National Evaluation Report, DFC coalitions funded by ONDCP in FY 2013 are showing promising results for middle school and high school youth past 30-day-use of illicit prescription drug and an increase in the perception of risk.
The goal is to continue a down-slide in the number of youth and young adults abusing prescription and OTC medications, until total obliteration of the issue.
“Without a doubt, the abuse of medicines will require a comprehensive coalition approach. Every sector has a role and a responsibility to get involved,” said CADCA’s Chairman and CEO, Gen. Arthur T. Dean.
To learn more about Jackson County Community Health Action Team and Jackson County Substance Awareness Committee and their efforts, contact Kim Booker, Wichita Mountains Prevention Network, Prevention Specialist, at (580) 355-5246 ext 111. For more information on statewide initiatives to combat prescription drug abuse visit takeasprescribed.org
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