Prescription Drug Abuse On The Rise
I want to take the opportunity in this “Message From the Sheriff” to discuss a serious and deadly problem, which sometimes can tend to be dismissed as a not so serious threat.
Prescription drug abuse is America’s fastest growing drug problem, especially among young people.
Several years ago, our region saw an increase in Oxycontin related drug abuse and subsequent deaths and we are now starting to see a similar trend with a powerful synthetic opiate called Fentanyl. This is a prescription only drug that some publications report to be 100 times more potent than morphine.
The Fentanyl patch is intended to gradually release medication into the body during the course of several days, but some who abuse the drug have been found to chew the patch, inject its content with a hypodermic needle and even smoke the patches contents.
I mention these methods to make you all aware of the various ways it can be abused. These are in addition to its intended method of application which is adhering the patch to your body, typically your chest, back or upper arms.
My intent on writing about this topic is to encourage everyone, especially parents, to begin a discussion with your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews of the dangers – deadly dangers – associated with prescription drug abuse.
When someone dies from a drug overdose, it may be easy to say, well, they shouldn’t have taken drugs. I won’t disagree. They shouldn’t have. And those who illegally distribute drugs will have to face the consequences of their actions.
But, I also think we need to recognize it as a chance to educate our young people of the hazards associated with taking someone else’s prescription medications.
Because when we experience a death of this nature, it is not only the family that suffers that loss. It’s also friends, schoolmates, teachers and our society in general that looses.
And while law enforcement has a responsibility to investigate those who possess and sell drugs, we all have a responsibility - as a community – to help educate our young people and do what we can to make sure they are safe.
Often times it’s thought that since a particular drug came from a doctor it’s not dangerous. We know that’s not true. Doctors consider a whole host of factors when determining what medication to prescribe, and that should be reason enough for us not to take someone else’s prescription drugs.
One way to help ensure that prescription medications don’t fall into the wrong hands is to properly dispose of expired / unused / unwanted medications.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office has participated in the National Drug Take Back Day Events for the past couple of years, collecting and properly disposing of several hundred pounds of prescription drugs.
Our next event will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2012, and we will provide additional information as the event date comes closer.
You can find more information on drug abuse at www.dea.gov . On the left side of the page, under Drug Prevention, there is a tab “for parents.”
As always, please feel free to contact me, or my office, if we can be of assistance.
Sheriff David Groves