Safe disposal of medications could save lives

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Each year in the United States, more than 71,000 children age 18 and younger are seen in emergency rooms for unintentional overdoses of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Teens are abusing prescription drugs because they believe the myth that these drugs provide a medically safe high. More than three in five teens say prescription pain relievers are easy to get from parents’ medicine cabinets.

Half of all teens say they are easy to get through other people’s prescriptions, and more than half say prescription pain relievers are “available everywhere.”
Medication overdoses are most common among 2-year-olds. About one out of every 180 visits an emergency department for a medication overdose each year. The most common medications accidentally taken by children are acetaminophen, opioids or benzodiazepines, cough and cold medicines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antidepressants.
Among young people age 12-17, prescription drugs have become the second most abused illegal drug, behind marijuana. Teens age 12-17 have the second highest annual rate of prescription drug abuse after young adults age 18-25.
The most recent research on deaths in the U.S. because of poisoning over a five-year period (1999-2004) shows that nearly all poison deaths in the country are attributed to drugs, and most drug poisonings result from the abuse of prescription and illegal drugs.
On Oct. 29, the Campbellsville Taylor County Anti-Drug Coalition will partner with the DEA and local law enforcement to collect and dispose of unused or expired medication. This National Take Back Day event will be at Walmart parking lot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call 789-1925.
Whether you’re a parent, coach, teacher or community leader, learn more about how you can do your part to curb teen drug abuse at www.talkaboutrx.org or www.ctccoalition.com.

Karen Hayes
Campbellsville Taylor County Anti-Drug Coalition