Combating prescription drug abuse
I recently read a study from The Trust for America’s Health that found that prescription medication drug overdoses has quadrupled in Indiana since 1999, ranking the state 17th in the country for the most deaths. These findings are saddening, and we must take preventative measures when it comes to handling prescription medications.
It is my fear that this rise is caused from the misconception that because a doctor prescribes the medication and professionals administer the medication, the drugs are not harmful. It is also important to note that the misuse and abuse of prescription medications is not confined to any particular demographic.
The problem must be combatted from all sides. In order for a prescription drug to be taken in a safe manner, it is important that your physician know your medical history and that you take the medicine as directed for its intended purposes.
Accidental poisoning, illegal use or theft and contamination of water resources are some of the dangers that come with improper disposal of prescription drugs. Currently, federal regulations are being re-examined to help simplify the return of controlled substances to pharmacies in addition to the Indiana Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force’s effort in creating a pilot program for pharmacies to take back controlled substances.
It is crucial, in our battle against prescription drug abuse and misuse, that we do not keep medications past their expiration date or intended period use, throw medications away in the trash, flush medications or pour them down the sink or give or sell our medications to others.
If you have medications that need to be disposed of, take them to advertised community events, such as Take Back Days, Shred Days or Household Hazardous Waste Days.
Counties also have “take-back” sites where residents can drop off their old prescription medicine to safe locations such as:
Milltown Police Department at 212 Hancock Street in Milltown
County Sherriff’s Department at 205 E. Main St. in Paoli
Spencer County Solid Waste Management District at 918 E. County Road 800 N in Chrisney
Perry and DuBois Counties do not currently have take-back sites. The Indiana Board of Pharmacy recommends that if you cannot get unused drugs to a take-back site, then crush the tablets, or open the capsules, and mix into used coffee grounds or cat litter, rendering them unusable, and send them out in the trash pickup.
For more information about prescription drug misuse and abuse, please visit www.bitterpill.in.gov. This site answers questions that are frequently asked about prescription drugs, provides firsthand accounts of Hoosiers that were impacted by prescription drug abuse and various resources to prevent abuse.
If you, or someone you know, are battling with prescription drug abuse, this website provides options and resources for various recovery treatments. To find a facility near you, call 1-800-662-HELP or log onto http://www.in.gov/fssa/dmha/index.htm. This process can seem daunting to some, so if you need help in navigating the addition delivery system, please feel free to call the Indiana Mental Health and Addiction Ombudsman at 1-800-555-MHAI.