Youth prescription abuse
This blog entry is written by Sarah Johnson, project coordinator for Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change.
“Robber demands Oxycodone from pharmacist” – Janesville Gazette, December 14, 2012. During the last three weeks, three pharmacy narcotics robberies have taken place in the area. In addition to the incident in Janesville, Walgreens pharmacies in Madison were robbed of OxyContin indicating the area’s growing addiction to prescription drugs.
Medication abuse is not just an adult issue. The last Janesville Youth Risk and Behavior Survey showed that almost 30% of high school seniors abused prescription drugs. “Abuse” includes taking medications without a prescription, even if taken for medical reasons. It also means sharing prescription drugs with friends or taking them in a way not intended, including getting high.
Abuse of prescription drugs can produce serious, negative short- and long-term health effects, including addiction, overdose, and death. Sergeant Burdick with the Rock County Sherriff’s Office is quoted in an early November article in the Janesville Gazette, “As the addiction [to prescription pills] advances, they are likely to start taking more pills more often. When it becomes too difficult or expensive to take the pills, they might switch to heroin.” Heroin and opiates (such as Oxycodone and OxyContin) were behind more than half of the 2011 fatal overdoses in Rock County.
We have the ability and responsibility to create positive change for our youth and reduce their access to these drugs. How?
-Step one: Monitor the medications in your home. Would you know if pills were missing? Always be confident in answering yes.
-Step two: Secure medications – approach securing medications like you would any valuables in your home. Teens abuse prescription drugs because they are easily accessible. In fact, 70% of kids age 12 to 17 who have abused pain relievers say they got them from their friends or relatives, typically without their knowledge.
-Step three: Dispose of expired or unused medications. Simple and easy to use, Janesville’s three drop boxes are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: Police Department, 100 N. Jackson; Mercy Health Mall, 1010 N. Washington St.; and Mercy Clinic East, 3525 E. Milwaukee St.
Want to do more? Consider getting involved with Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change (JM4C) – a collaboration of pro-active community members committed to preventing and reducing substance use among all youth through advocacy, awareness, and action. JM4C meets at noon on the third Thursday of every month in the public meeting room at Hedberg Library in Janesville. For more information email email@example.com or call 741-2105.
The authors of this blog are employed by local non-profit organizations and not the Janesville Gazette. Their views are not necessarily those of Gazette management.