More than 200 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers are prescribed by doctors each year, many of which produce leftovers that lurk in medicine cabinets. Regrettably, a number of these painkillers end up in the wrong hands, promoting addiction and triggering serious health consequences.
“Many people receive prescriptions from their doctors but may not use them completely or might change to a different medication, so it ends up unused or may fall into the wrong hands,” says Clare Waismann, Registered Addiction Specialist and director of WAISMANN METHOD® treatment, the pioneering treatment for opiate dependency. Unused drugs pose serious health consequences, particularly for children and pose a serious threat of addiciton.
“Often times, people taking prescription painkillers for long-term pain management become tolerant to the effects of their prescribed dose, which causes them to increase their dosage over time,”
“This can quickly lead to a dependency because the body becomes accustomed to the effects these substances have on the brain and central nervous system.”
Many times children, teens and young adults become addicted to drugs through experimenting with prescription medications they find at home, Waisman reports.
“Many kids also share with their friends, leading to more individuals abusing the medication,”
“By removing these drugs and disposing of them safely, parents and community members are doing their part to help prevent the prescription painkillers from reaching the wrong people.”
More than 1.6 million individuals were arrested on drug-related charges in 2010 alone. That amounts to an arrest every 19 seconds. It is estimated that more than half of inmates in the prison population have a history of substance abuse and addiction. And prisons are ill-equipped to deal with drug addictions.
In efforts to combat the dangers of leftover prescription painkillers the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled the fourth annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. with the help of more than 4,000 state and local law enforcement agencies. The program facilitates and encourages Americans to safely dispose of expired or unused prescription drugs by bringing them to designated drop-off sites.
Over the past two years nearly 500 tons of medication has been disposed of. This is a tremendous service considering that more Americans abuse prescription drugs than those who use cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined, as reported by the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use.
“Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the past decade, and this initiative is one way we can all help reduce the risk of these drugs from ever being misused,”