Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem throughout the United States, especially among teenagers. An April 2013 study found that about one in four American teenagers had used prescription drugs for nonmedical uses. That is up 33 percent from 2008. Prescription drugs pose just as much of a threat when misused as do illicit, illegal drugs that are abused. The number of overdose deaths associated with prescription drug abuse now exceeds that of deaths attributed to both cocaine and heroin abuse combined.
Unfortunately, the prescription drug abuse problem has been exacerbated by the availability of the drugs in the homes of friends and family. In fact, more than half of all teens in Arkansas report that it is easy to obtain prescription drugs directly from their parents' medicine cabinets.
Since 2010, the office has teamed with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to sponsor the "Monitor, Secure, Dispose," program, which encourages Arkansans to safely dispose of their unused and unwanted prescription drugs. By securely disposing of unused prescription drugs, Arkansans can help the fight against prescription drug abuse and keep pills out of the hands of abusers.
The Attorney General's Office is a sponsor of the semi-annual Prescription Drug "Take-Back" Day held each spring and fall. Arkansans can safely dispose of their unused prescription drugs during take-back events by dropping the pills off at collection sites located across Arkansas. The sites are staffed by law enforcement officers, and the drugs are securely disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.
Visit the Arkansas Take-Back Day website for more information about the event and ways to help prevent prescription drug abuse.
There are a few other simple, effective ways to fight the problem:
- Keep both prescription and over-the-counter medications in a safe place where children and teenagers cannot acquire them.
- If possible, lock away prescription medications.
- Encourage other adults to secure their medications.
- Keep a running count of how many pills are in each bottle or packet.
- Keep track of refill dates and amounts.
The Arkansas Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention of the Division of Behavioral Health Services can advise Arkansans of drug-prevention services and resources available in each county. That office may be reached at (501) 686-9030.