Friday, May 13, 2011
It is almost hard to comprehend the exponential increase in prescription drug use over the last decade, fast becoming the number one offender in substance abuse across America. In just about every state the numbers are absolutely staggering, highlighting the fact that our youth are in the most jeopardy. One such state that has witnessed skyrocketing rates of prescription opiate misuse is New York, which according to the city’s Health Department the rate of misuse of prescription pain medications has jumped 40 percent in New York City from 2002 to 2009. What's worse, the trend does not seem to be getting any better, which means it's only getting worse as the years pass by.
Four percent of New Yorkers age 12 and older admitted misuse of prescription pain medicines in 2008 and 2009, The New York Times reports. With one out of 10 students in grades 7 through 12 claiming they had used a prescription opioid for non-medicinal use at least once. The report goes on, finding that 25 percent of the city’s accidental drug overdose deaths in 2009 were related to prescription opioids and the rate of opioid-related emergency room visits doubled between 2004 and 2009 in New York City, from 4,466 to 9,254.
The only way we will ever see a decrease in prescription drug misuse is if doctors stop over prescribing patients as well as providing patients narcotics for routine procedures with limited pain. The burden falls on health care providers. The fact that so many teenagers have access to potentially fatal drugs is frightening and in most cases they are not buying the drugs on the streets, rather they are coming by the drugs in their parents medicine cabinets. Parents need to be extra vigilante in keeping their medications away from their children, under lock and key is the only way opioids should be stored in households with children.