Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions, with ease of availability of the drugs being one of the main causes of the rising menace. An unmonitored home medicine cabinet can be an easy target for someone with the inclination to abuse prescription drugs. Drugs or medicines thrown in the garbage can be easily retrieved, abused or sold in the illegal market. And, if the medicines are simply flushed down the toilet, they can end up damaging the environment. Therefore, it is extremely important to dispose of medicines properly.
It has been observed that college students are more susceptible to prescription drug abuse, primarily due to their curiosity to experiment with drugs. As per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2015, nearly 15.3 percent of the people aged 18-25 years were reported to take prescription drugs for non-medical uses. Many times, people in this age group lend their medicines to friends who are unaware of the side-effects of the use of such prescription medications.
Thus, it is important to understand the gravity of the situation and make people aware of the dangers of using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.
Drug take-back events: An overview
Held twice a year, the drug take-back campaign was started by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2010 to help safe disposal of unused drugs. This not only ensures that the environment is protected but also helps prevent unnecessary distribution of drugs so that they are not misused. The aim of the initiative is “to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications”. As part of the campaign, the general public or organizing group are urged to educate others about the devastating effects of drugs by the use of pamphlets, posters, toolkits, etc.
On October 22, 2016, the Rapid City Police Department urged people to drop off potentially dangerous and expired drugs. Moreover, two permanent boxes were also put at the Public Safety Building and Evidence Building where people could throw away unwanted or unused drugs. Similarly, a drug take-back event was organized on October 17 and 18, 2016, at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, by the city’s police department in conjunction with the DEA, to educate the students of the harms of such addiction and misuse. As part of the drive, pamphlets were also circulated among students, which informed them about the consequences of being charged with a criminal violation if found in possession of illegal drugs or alcohol-related convictions.
Prescription drugs can have same effects as illegal drugs
Whether one borrows prescription drugs from a friend to relieve pain or abuses them to perform better at school or work, or simply to get a high, it has the potential to adversely affect one’s health.
It is important not only to know the side effects of the drugs that one is consuming but also to take them under proper medical supervision. If one feels that he or she might be getting addicted to prescription drugs, it is important to consult a doctor and dispose of the medicines in the modes recommended by the government agencies. Though they may appear harmless, such medicines can cause harmful effects just as illegal drugs.
Don’t suffer in silence
The DEA lists out locations where one can go and drop off medicines the year round, besides organizing such events. Take action by assisting government agencies to uproot prescription drug addiction in California.
If you have, inadvertently, got addicted to your medicines, seek help from the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline of California by calling at their 24/7 helpline number 855-738-2770 or chat online to know about rehab centers in California.