Prescription drug abuse is a large problem in Ohio. It is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States and has helped to put Ohio close to the top of the list for drug-related deaths.
The problem has grown so large that in 2010, Governor Strickland created a task force to assess the situation and develop a comprehensive approach to reducing the prescription drug abuse. The report summarized a number of recommendations, including focusing on prevention.
Research has shown that teens think that abusing prescription drugs is “safer” than using illegal drugs. This belief is one reason why rates of prescription drug abuse among Ohio’s youth have been increasing and why it is now the second most popular form of drug abuse, behind marijuana.
What can be done? In my opinion, plenty.
For starters, parents should take advantage of Medication Disposal Day events where they can safely and legally drop-off unused or expired prescription drugs, so that they don’t find their way into kids’ backpacks. We should also encourage our schools to make health promotion a priority and include drug prevention, as well as other important messages, as normal and integrated parts of the curriculum. And lastly, we should invest in effective treatment programs that can help people remain sober.
Got any other ideas or comments? Please share them with me!