Monday, June 15, 2015
It’s National Safety Month: Learn More about Prescription Painkiller Abuse
Did you know that injuries are the leading cause of disabilities for all ages and the leading cause for death in Americans age 1 to 44 years old? It’s important to practice safety first whether it be transportation safety, emergency preparedness or even slips, trips and falls. But the main issue plaguing many Americans these days is prescription painkiller abuse and this is a major safety issue when it comes to people’s lives.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that prescription painkiller abuse has reached epidemic levels. Deaths by overdose of painkillers have surpassed the deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. It was reported in 2010 that roughly 12 million Americans reported non-medical use of prescription painkillers in that year alone. Why are Americans abusing painkillers? Most state they use the drugs just to enjoy the “high”.Want to hear some even scarier data? There were enough painkillers prescribed in 2010 alone that could essentially medicate every adult in the U.S. for an entire month! While these prescriptions were legally prescribed, many of the medications still end up in the hands of people they are not prescribed for leading to incredible amounts of misuse and abuse. Some popular prescription painkillers include: Vicodin, OxyContin and methadone.
The Texas Poison Center Network wants you to know that we can fix this epidemic and change statistics for the better. Here’s what you can do to help eliminate prescription painkiller abuse:
· If you are prescribed pain medication, never share your prescription with anyone.
· Make sure to use the prescription only as directed by your healthcare provider.
· Store medications in a secure location and out of reach of children.
· Read warning labels because some medications cannot be taken with certain things including alcohol.
· Keep medication in its proper bottle or original container.
· Monitor the use of prescriptions by children and teenagers to ensure they do not misuse or abuse.
· Dispose of medication properly when you no longer need it. (http://www.poisoncontrol.org/news/topics/disposing-of-medication.cfm)
· Participate in National Drug Take Back Days that take place in your community.
If you have concerns regarding prescription painkillers and the use or abuse of them, please do not hesitate to contact your local Texas poison center. Dial 1-800-222-1222 for immediate help and assistance today- they are available around the clock for your poisoning concerns and needs.