Coalition offers tips to avoid misuse of prescriptions

By Frank Weir Legal News The Jackson County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is warning of the threat of prescription medication misuse and abuse. "Whether it's a headache, toothache, high blood pressure, sprain knee or any other ailment, you can usually find a medication to treat it. There are thousands of different types of over-the-counter and prescription drugs available to treat almost any condition from your head to your toe," the coalition has stated. "Medication can be a life saver to someone with high blood pressure or other life threatening condition; however the misuse or abuse of prescription medication can also have very severe side effects. The misuse of medications is not always intentional just as the abuse of those drugs is not always fatal." The coalition has provided a list of ways to reduce the risk of "injury, overdose, or theft" when using prescription medication including: Read and follow the directions on the prescription; Let your doctor know if you are taking over the counter medication to ensure that there is no serious health risk to taking both medications; Don't break, crush or mix in liquids any prescription without consulting the pharmacist to see if that will affect the medication; Keep medications in a high traffic area with no doors which will reduce the risk of medications being stolen from the home; When disposing of medications, do not flush or throw away in the bottle. Remove the medications and place in a plastic bag mixed with used coffee grounds or cat litter; Remove all labels from medicine bottles and tear up before throwing away. This will prevent someone from finding the label and having your address or calling in any unused refills under your name. "Prescription drug misuse and abuse is cause for great concern. As of 2008, teens cite prescription drugs as the second most accessible drugs available to them, after marijuana. Teens also view the drugs as 'safe' highs. Prescription drugs are medications that should only be used as prescribed. The addictive potential of prescription drugs is the same as that of illegal drugs -- such as cocaine or heroin -- and the consequences of use can be severe. Opioid (analgesic/narcotic pain relievers) drugs are the most commonly misused of prescription drugs. "Aside from the potential for abuse and misuse, prescription drugs can sometimes be the first step towards illegal drug use. Data tells us that if the rates of prescription drug use (for non-medical reasons) increases, access to prescription drugs will also increase and Heroin and cocaine use will follow. After all, Oxycotin and Vicidon have been referred to by heroin addicts as 'poor man's Heroin.'" The coalition states that additional information about prescription drug safety and the signs and symptoms of drug abuse, can be found at Also, Jackson County is participating in the National Drug Take-Back Day on October 29. For more information contact, Jackson County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition at (517) 796-5133 or or Breakout Drug Education Program at (517) 612-2512 or Published: Thu, Oct 20, 2011

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