Editorial - Stop our nation’s prescription drug abuse
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012 01:04
Now is the time for spring cleaning, and the federal government is asking Americans to make a clean sweep of their medicine cabinets.
Tomorrow is (another) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is encouraging everyone to return their unused or expired prescription drugs at designated collection sites across the country.
The last take-back event generated more than 377,086 pounds of prescription drugs for proper disposal, and the program has collected 995, 185 pounds of medication since its creation.
The goal of the program, of course, is to combat drug abuse – the heavy millstone weighing down the nation.
Substance abuse incurs more than $484 billion in losses in America every year. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse is considered one of the country’s most pressing public health concerns.
Preventing substance abuse is a worthwhile priority for federal lawmakers. The fiscal, social and moral implications of the issue are far-reaching and intense.
West Virginia had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in 2011, the majority of which involved prescription drugs. The state’s death rate from accidental overdoses was 21.5 individuals per 100,000 people in 2008, an increase of more than 15 per year from its average in 2001.
Monongalia County death rates rose from two or fewer in 2001 to 2.1-14.4 in 2008, according to the W.Va. Health Statistics Center.
There’s no way around it – drug abuse is the leading cause of accidental death in the state. More West Virginians are killed each year by overdoses than car accidents.
There are, however, ways to help. Awareness and prevention are key factors with promoting any cure, especially with disease. Programs, including D.A.R.E. and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, exist to raise awareness and combat drug abuse nationwide.
WELLWVU: The Students’ Center for Health also has various initiatives aimed at help and prevention for students and community members.
Everyone has seen the devastating effects of the "big names" – cocaine, methamphetamine, heroine and prescription pills – now it’s time for a big change.