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Friday, April 27, 2012

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

We are approaching the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which is ever so crucial in the fight against prescription drug abuse. More people start using prescription drugs from friends or family, rather than going to a doctor for a prescription. Please take the time to read Michele Leonhart’s, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, thoughts:

“Prescription drug abuse is perhaps our nation’s most significant drug problem, and trends over the past decade indicate this problem will only worsen, particularly among young adults and teens. While the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and law enforcement represent an important dimension in this fight, we are not the only ones. It will take our combined efforts to combat this problem, and the more we can do together to both educate our children early and make drugs more difficult to get, the more successful we will be.

Far too often legitimately prescribed drugs sit in our medicine cabinets and junk drawers, unused and forgotten. But to our children and young adults who don’t understand the dangers of these legal, yet powerful prescription drugs, experimentation and abuse have grave consequences.

So how do you rid your home of these medicines? In the past, we’ve simply flushed them down the toilet or thrown them in the trash. However, we’ve learned more about the negative effects these drugs can have on our environment, as well as their potential for theft and abuse.

Recognizing these problems, DEA has taken action. On September 25, 2010, we held our first National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The turnout for this event demonstrated that we had identified a pressing need, with an astounding 121 tons of unwanted, unused or expired medication brought in for proper disposal. Since then, we have held a Take-Back event every six months, and so far, we’ve taken nearly 500 tons of pills out of America’s medicine cabinets.

We are also working toward a permanent solution to this problem. DEA continues to prepare the final rules and procedures for the rollout of the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act. This will allow people to dispose of their drugs in a safe manner every day, not only during our Take-Back events, and we hope to have these regulations in place by the end of the year. But until then, we remain committed to giving parents, grandparents, caregivers—everyone—a safe way to discard potentially harmful drugs, and will sponsor these events until the final disposal procedures are in place.

Our next Take-Back Day event is April 28th and with your continued assistance, I’m sure it will be another success. Information about the event and drop-off locations are available on www.DEA.gov -simply click on the Got Drugs banner and enter your zip code, and the locations nearest to you will come up.”

Friday, April 20, 2012

University of Colorado Four-Twenty Battle

April 20th has unofficially become the holiday of marijuana use across the country: A day where pot users join together in solidarity to celebrate the use of the drug. Students from the University of Colorado-Boulder have held a 4/20 celebration for many years now on campus, but this year may be a little bit harder for those in favor of celebrating.

Officials at the University of Colorado-Boulder are trying to prevent thousands from gathering today for the annual 4/20 marijuana celebration. One deterrent they came up with was to spread smelly fish-based fertilizer on campus as a deterrent.

“We don’t consider this a protest. We consider this people smoking pot in the sunshine,” university spokesman Bronson Hilliard told the Associated Press. “This is a gathering of people engaging in an illegal activity.”

The holiday is not just about sitting in circles and getting high with one’s peers, those who attend such events are rallying to legalize marijuana across the world which is no easy task considering that in our country alone the drug has been stigmatized for over 70 years.

Last year, more than 10,000 people, both students and non-students, attended a 4/20 celebration on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus, the AP reports. This year is going to be different because officials are closing the campus to all unauthorized visitors which will most likely stir up a protest. Another, surprising countermeasure to the movement was to hold a free campus concert by Wyclef Jean, a respected hip-hop artist to coincide with the most important time 4:20 pm.

Colorado was named the nation’s top party school in 2011 by Playboy magazine.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Drinking During Pregnancy

Drinking alcohol while pregnant continues to be a major problem across the globe. Many women fail to realize how serious consuming alcohol during the pregnancy can be with regard to their fetus. A new study that was just conducted found that there are a good number of women that continue to drink during pregnancy, but at modest levels.

Erika Comasco, Ph.D., from Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues collected data on alcohol consumption before and during pregnancy among 2,264 women from a Swedish antenatal clinic, using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).

89 percent of the women reported regularly consuming alcohol and 49 percent reported occasional or frequent binge drinking before pregnancy. Twelve percent of women continued using alcohol and 5 percent admitted binge drinking during pregnancy. Fifteen percent of women reported using nicotine before pregnancy, while 5 percent admitted using nicotine during pregnancy.

"While the AUDIT results suggested that a significant number of women continued using alcohol during pregnancy, implying a risk for fetal disorders, the biomarkers showed negative test values thus indicating only modest drinking levels," the authors write. "The continuation of this study will investigate the development of children exposed to alcohol during fetal life, together with other pre- and postnatal factors, genetic factors, and behavioral characteristics."

Friday, April 6, 2012

More Prescription Painkiller Prescriptions Than Ever

Sadly, the number of painkillers being prescribed across the country is on the rise due to an aging population with pain problems as well as the rise of people addicted to prescription opiates, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. Rural areas are some of the hardest hit which is the result of a lack of street drugs like heroin being available.

There has been a large increase in the distribution of oxycodone between 2000 and 2010 in many areas. Hydrocodone use is rising in Appalachia and in the Midwest, the AP found, after analyzing data from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The increase in prescription painkiller has resulted in more overdoses and pharmacy robberies, the article notes. In the past ten years, prescription opiate overdoses more than tripled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An estimated 14,800 people died in the United States from painkiller overdoses in 2008, more than a threefold jump from the 4,000 deaths recorded in 1999, the CDC said in a report released last November. The need for a national prescription drug monitoring system is great, 48 states have prescription drug monitoring programs, but few are linked together; according to the AP.

More people now die from painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined.
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