Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Drug Abuse in America is Worse than Ever

Federal surveys reveal cyclical trends in drug abuse — but the number of lifetime users keeps growing.

Reports, such as the Drug Test Index, from Quest Diagnostics, are misleading as they report "positive rates" for urine laboratory drug testing predominantly. This form of testing is little more than an intelligence test for drug abusers, and rarely includes prescription drugs such as oxycontin, vicodin, and lortab.

Overall abuse rates were highest in the 1970s, declined through the early ’90s, went back up and now seem to have stabilized over the past six years.
That said, the increasing abuse of prescription medicines among all age groups has created a serious health hazard.

Survey after survey shows the vast scope of illegal drug use — deep-rooted in all regions, among all races and socio-economic groups. Big cities indeed have severe problems, but the states with the highest overall abuse rates include Rhode Island, Vermont, Montana and Alaska.

“There’s this assumption that drug abuse is more common in racial minorities, especially blacks,” said Dr. Wilson Compton, a division director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “It’s not true. Either the rates are lower or at least no higher.”
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Prescription Drug Abuse Dealths - Second leading cause of accidental deaths in America

If you don't believe that prescription drug abuse, especially pain relievers is a health and safety threat, read on.

May 27, 2009 - New drug czar wants states to monitor prescription abuse

More Americans die from drugs than from gunshot wounds.

Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske says one of his top priorities is curtailing abuse of prescription drugs such as the addictive painkiller OxyContin that are readily available in the United States.

"We get overly concerned about drugs coming in, but the pharmaceuticals are here already," - Gil Kerlikowske - White House

Kerlikowske said he'll push for more states to adopt prescription-monitoring programs in which doctors and pharmacists log prescriptions for addictive drugs so law enforcement can track them.

Kerlikowske, a former Seattle police chief who became director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy on May 7, said drug abuse is a "public health problem."

"Legalization isn't in the president's vocabulary, and it certainly isn't in mine," he told 300 law enforcement officials last week in Nashville.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Prescription Drug Abuse - The Real Threat to Workplace Safety

Prescription Drugs And Alcohol

If the underlying purpose of drug testing is safety, there is no
reason why drug testing should be limited to illicit drugs. In
terms of the number of people who abuse alcohol and prescription
drugs, and the fatalities, injuries, and property
damage caused by their effects in the workplace, legal substances
pose a much greater threat than illegal drugs.

Improperly used prescription and “over the counter” drugs
present a significant problem in the workplace. Policies for
these substances should be incorporated into a comprehensive
drug testing program.

Prescription drugs may be harmful to the user, other employees, and the public, if they are abused. Prescription drugs can present legal problems for employers if drug testing programs do not take into account the fact that employees may be using them, properly or improperly.

There are several practical methods available toobtain the necessary information about prescription drug use which would affect job performance.

• Incorporate in the testing consent form a space for employees to list all prescription drugs they are currently taking.
• Provide a separate form for employees to complete whenever they are asked to submit to a physical which includes a drug test.
• Develop and post a rule requiring employees returning to work from an illness to indicate whether he/she has been given a prescription, and if so, for what.
• Develop and post a rule requiring employees to inform a supervisor any time they take a prescription or overthe-counter drug, and provide that management will determine whether the employee is fit to perform his duties while on that drug.
• Require employees returning from illness or layoff to submit to a physical to determine fitness for duty.
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Prescription Drug Abuse / Pain Relievers on the Rise Across the Country

State of Washington

The St. John Medical Center has seen a dramatic increase in opioid-related emergency-room visits and that adolescents are trying prescription opiates and moving quickly to heroin.

“The human brain doesn’t stop developing until 26 or 27 years old,” McCrady said. “When you introduce a drug into a developing human being, that’s what leads to that quicker addiction.”

State of North Carolina

Prescription drug abuse among area juveniles is on the rise and local officials say solving the problem should be a community effort.

"The major issue is the unauthorized possession of prescription drugs,".
The prescription drug problem "is a major uprise for not only the schools but for the state."

"The abuse and the issuance of prescription drugs ... is one of the key problems in today's society and that is and has been on the increase for a while now in the schools," he sad. "Most of it has to do with prescription drugs that they have access to either through their parents or another family member in the house. Some of these drugs are drugs that the child themselves may be legally taking and then taking them to school and sharing them with their friends and selling them to their friends."

Trudy Allen, a JPD detective in the juvenile division, said the accessibility of prescription drugs is a major part of the problem.

"It's easily accessible; we all have drugs in the cabinet," she said. "Any child can go into the cabinet and get drugs that are readily available. ... They can easily go into mom and dad's medicine cabinet that may not be secured and take out whatever they want to use."

In order to deter the presence of drugs on Onslow County School's campuses, prevention is key, Baldwin said.

"It may be in the form of assemblies, small group or individual discussions about using, possessing or distributing drugs on campus," Baldwin said, explaining that it is also addressed in the healthy living curriculum.

Intervention comes next, he said, explaining that it may involve small groups of students that may be "at risk of possessing, using or distributing drugs."
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Teen Drug Abuse on the Rise

Police say teen drug abuse is on the rise in the Desert Southwest, as the number of hospital visits for drug abuse is increasing nationwide. Police say kids are having "pharming" parties; they show up with their pharmaceutical drugs, dump them in a bowl, and have at it. Yuma Police Department School Resource Officer Erick Resendiz held a presentation Wednesday night at City Hall as part of the Yuma Education Series. His message is if you abuse drugs, you're taking your life in your hands.

"We don't want to be responding to your house for an overdose when we can be responding to your house for advice on how to stop it," says Resendiz. Drugs can take a perfectly normal person, and turn them into a zombie. Resendiz says more kids in town are potentially throwing their future down the drain. He says police are seeing "over the counter and prescription drug abuse. Kids are trying any drug, if they have a drug that affects them somehow they think well if I take it more, can it help, will it help me." Resendiz also says more kids are inhaling toxins. Why are they doing drugs? To get high, deal with problems, change their body, help with school work, and a slew of other reasons. Resendiz says kids can find information on how to abuse drugs with the click of a mouse. "There's also experiment websites; sites they (kids) can go on-line that tell them how to abuse these drugs to get better highs safer. They even have rules like they're supposed to have a watcher; someone who can standby them when they're getting high in case something goes wrong." Resendiz says once a kid starts abusing drugs, they'll become a completely different person. Signs and symptoms of look out for: "Changes in behavior, changes in appearance, drastic things that don't normally happen in juveniles. Kids are giving away their belongings, they're losing an inappropriate amount of weight."

Resendiz says you can potentially save a loved ones life by getting them help before it's too late, and also studies show that if you talk to your child about not doing drugs, they'll be more likely to stay away from them. His advice for anyone is "don't even try them, don't even abuse them, don't take them any way, you shouldn't take them unless prescribed by a doctor. If you're already taking them get help, before you get past that addiction point where you can't get help anymore." For more information on Wednesday night's presentation, or for ideas on future presentation topics for the Yuma Educational Series, contact Officer Resendiz at the Yuma Police Department.
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2009 Federal Government Survey - Prescription Drug Abuse #1 Problem in America

Prescription Drug Abuse

Despite the prevalence of prescription drug abuse, especially pain releivers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, most organizations.. including federal mandated DOT drug testing do not monitor their use.

A recent Federal Survey* says prescription drug abuse by teens and young adults continues to be a serious problem in the United States.

Today, teenagers are not using as much marijuana, cocaine, crack, LSD, and ecstasy as the adolescents of the 1960’s. American kids have a new favorite way to get high; painkillers and other prescription drugs are being abused at record levels.

This group of young adults has been given the name “Generation Rx.”

For the first time, national studies show that today’s teens are more likely to have abused a prescription painkiller than any street drug.

Surveys shows, that kids as young as 12 years old are trying or using prescription drugs -- to get high or for "self-medicating." The pharmaceuticals are often more available to kids than street drugs because they are often found in their very own homes. Also, pills may regarded as safer because they are professionally manufactured in a lab.

The survey also shows that painkillers are the most common pharmaceutical abused by teens with stimulant abuse more common among older teens and college students than younger teens.

Many young adults think these drugs are safe because they have legitimate uses, but taking them without a prescription to get high or to “self-medicate” can be as dangerous – and as addictive – as using street any drug they find on the streets.

*The Monitoring the Future survey – now in it’s 33rd year – is a series of classroom surveys of eight, tenth and twelfth graders. It is conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the national Institutes of Health (NIH), and US Dept. of Health of Human Services (HHS).

The survey indicates a continuing high rate of prescription drug abuse among teens, with little change seen in the past six years. In fact, seven of the top 10 drugs abused were prescribed or purchased over the counter. The most common drugs used were Vicodin and Oxycontin.
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