I picked Ted up from a party and he was unusually chatty. He told me more information in that car ride home than in the last year. I sat him down to look at him. Something was not right.
“One in eight teens (13 percent) now reports that they have taken the stimulants Ritalin or Adderall when it was not prescribed for them, at least once in their lifetime.” That, someone’s Adderall, was the drug of the evening for Ted.
We parents can be clueless
“Contributing to this sustained trend in teen medicine abuse are the lax attitudes and beliefs of parents and caregivers. In fact, nearly one-third of parents say they believe Rx stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, normally prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can improve a teen’s academic performance even if the teen does not have ADHD. Parents are not effectively communicating the dangers of Rx medicine misuse and abuse to their kids, nor are they safeguarding their medications at home and disposing of unused medications properly.” Read more…
Bob Stutman, former DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent in New York City and anti-drug educational speaker, predicted a few short years ago that accidental death by car crashes would move to number two. Today the leading cause of accidental death is drug overdose. A 90 percent increase in poisoning deaths between 1999 and 2008, many of them due to prescription drugs — one death every 24 minutes.
Often we can’t tell that prescription drug use is going on, Stuntman reminds us. People can be high-functioning (think Rush Limbaugh). Students can maintain good grades and performance and their abuse isn’t known until there’s a crisis. Think 28 year-old physician and MBA, John Jung. Read his story here. His parents are friends who are generous to share their pain for our education.
Here’s the wake-up call
85% of websites selling controlled prescription drugs do not require a prescription.
In 2009, more than one third of teens said they can get prescription drugs to get high within a day; nearly one in five teens could get them within an hour. CASA published materials (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.)
Prescription medicines are now the most commonly abused drugs among 12 to 13 year olds. — Drugfree.org
Between 2004 and 2012 the number of prescription opioid related admissions to substance abuse programs increased by 65%.
The number of ER visits due to prescription opioid overdose increased by over 200% between 2004 and 2012, exceeding ER visits due to cocaine, alcohol or Heroin overdose. – Butler Center for Research, January 2014, Prescription Opioids and Dependence.
What to do right now
1. Lock up your medications. Your teen may not seek them out, but visiting teens, cleaning people or extended family members might. Buy a safe here.
2. Take the medications you don’t use to a drug disposal site. Drop-off sites are available at some police stations with efforts to make this available in every community. This FDA page has more instructions for drug disposal. DisposeMyMeds.org has a pharmacy locator of participating take-back pharmacies near you.
Local to southeastern Wisconsin? See end of page for pill drop-off locations near you and Arrowhead Pill Drop for current drop-off event dates.
3. Talk to your doctor, dentist, oral surgeon about over-prescribing medications. One doctor we know of prescribed 270 Vicodin to one patient in one month. A friend received a script for 30 Vicodin for a dental procedure and 30 more at a procedure days later. He refused them both. Ask if a prescription medication is necessary if an over-the-counter will do.
Share this info with your friends
“In 1995 doctors wrote 800,000 prescriptions for opioids. Today, 260 million.” -Bob Stutman
While the US population increased only 16% between 1997 and 2011, the amounts of oxycodone sold by retail pharmacies increased by 1,259%. — The National Center for Biotechnology Information.
The United States consumes 99% of the opioids prescribed in the world.
For Southeastern Wisconsin prescription and medication drop-off locations:
City of Hartland Police Department
210 Cottonwood Avenue,
Hartland, WI 53029
Mukwonago Police Department
627 S. Rochester Street
Mukwonago, WI 53149
City of Muskego Police Department
W183 S8150 Racine Avenue
Muskego, WI 53150
City of New Berlin Police Department
16300 West National Avenue,
New Berlin, WI 53151
City of Oconomowoc Police Department
174 East Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
City of Pewaukee Municipal Court Building
W240 N3065 Pewaukee Road
Pewaukee WI, 53072
Village of Pewaukee Police Department
235 Hickory Street
Pewaukee, WI 53072
Sussex Public Safety Building
N63 W24335 Main Street
Sussex, WI 53089
Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department Lobby
515 W. Moreland Boulevard,
Waukesha, WI 53188
City of Waukesha Police Department
1901 Delafield Street
Waukesha, WI 53188