Prescription drug abuse is increasing
Prescription drug abuse is increasing at an alarming rate, and the abuse of prescription drugs is just as illegal as taking street drugs.
Last year, Merrill, Wisconsin, had one of the highest expulsion rates in the state for students who were caught with prescription drugs. Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center was not about to let the problem go unchallenged.
Recognizing the dangerous and growing trend, members of Merrill businesses and other community servants, including representatives from Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center, Merrill Area Public Schools, the Merrill police department, and other health care organizations, began meeting to determine how to stop or slow down the problem.
Prescription drug abuse is a pervasive problem:
- More teens abuse prescription drugs than any other street drug.
- In some cases, it’s easier to access prescription drugs than street drugs.
- Many believe prescription drugs are safe and don’t see any risk involved in using them occasionally for recreational reasons.
- Abuse of prescription drugs can have dangerous and unpredictable effects, including death.
The community focus group decided to create a community education brochure to increase awareness of the prescription drug abuse problem. It was distributed to all pharmacies in the city of Merrill and even attached to each prescription sold for a period of time.
The brochure stated the importance of counting how many pills are in each bottle or pill packet, keeping track of refills, and properly concealing and disposing of old or unused medications. If medications need to be refilled more often than expected, it could be a sign that someone is taking – and abusing – the medication.