As over the counter drugs have become a lot more accessible, there’s one concerning trend that’s developing throughout today’s United States. Americans are switching to prescription drugs without knowing that in high dosage these can be just as dangerous as heroin. A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama points out that prescription drug abuse causes more deaths than heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens and inhalants combined.
It goes without saying that the matter the U.S. Attorney’s Office has pointed out is urgent. The quest to educate people about the dangers of prescription drug abuse has been joined by twenty three Mayors and Town Supervisors under the administration of New York State’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The matter at hand is about to get epidemic proportions and several regulators have already initiated actions to bring focus to the issue. The National Institute on Drug Abuse confirms that over the counter medications have become the most widely used drugs among high school students, outpaced only by marijuana consumption.
Take for instance Florida. According to data from drug abuse center director Jim Hall, the deaths associated with the abuse of oxymorphone based drugs have increased in 2010 to 493, recording a peak of 109 percent in comparison with 2009. And regulators are concerned nationwide the number of deaths associated with narcotic pain medication will increase even more.
U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance explained that even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ruled over prescription drug abuse to be an epidemic. DEA Special Agent Jimmy Fox III head of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas operations also pointed out: “The prescription drug epidemic is present in each and every state and it cannot be resolved with enforcement alone”.
As part of their attempt to educate “law enforcement, along with parents, teachers, physicians and everyone in the community” this Thursday the Trussville Civic Center will host a day-long conference dedicated to pointing out the risks of prescription drug abuse.
Meanwhile, Reuters points out the realities of prescription drug abuse in rural U.S. and even present cases of overdose caused by Opana, a medicine available over the counter based on oxymorphone. As reporters point out “Opana is the hot new prescription drug of abuse, sometimes with tragic consequences”.