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The DEA, Local Law Enforcement and the Drug Talk That Never Was

The Kirkwood and Webster Groves police departments are asking residents to turn in unused prescription drugs. We give kids the "drug talk," but do we do enough to educate them about the dangers of prescription medications?

The DEA and Local Law Enforcement

In an effort to combat prescription drug abuse, the Kirkwood and Webster Groves police departments are participating in the 2011 National Take Back Initiative in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents may drop off unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs to the Webster Groves Recreation Complex or the Kirkwood Police Department, where officers will dispose of drugs safely. The program is completely anonymous and police will not request residents to present identification.

Residents also can turn in non-prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. They may not dispose of injectable medicine or turn in needles, nor can they turn in illegal drugs. You can find out more information about the 2011 Take Back Initiative in the attached PDFs.

The Drug Talk That Never Was

Each day, approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America, the DEA's Office of Diversion Control reports. Six of the top ten substances abused by 12th graders in the year prior to the National Institute of Drug Abuse's 2010 Monitoring the Future  survey were prescribed or purchased over the counter, the Webster Groves Police Department reports. Clearly, prescription drug abuse is a serious problem among teens.

Interestingly, for all the drug education I received in high school, prescription drug abuse was never discussed. This is particularly surprising to me given that I entered high school in 1998 and graduated in 2002, dates that coincide with a marked increase in OxyContin (oxycodone hydrochloride) abuse.

Emergency department (ED) mentions for oxycodone rose sharply from when I was 16 to 18. In 2000, there were 10,825 ED mentions for oxycodone nationwide, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, the National Drug Intelligence Center reports. By 2002, this number had more than doubled to 22,397. National headlines began mentioning doctors who were busted for Medicaid fraud and their associations with traffiking of the highly addictive substance.

I knew kids who used OxyContin. Our high school paper even did a feature about teen users, the dosages that were being sold, street prices and how kids were manipulating the substance to get high.

So with all the drug talk I received in high school, why did I never get the "prescription drug talk?" OxyContin and other opiates aside, we all know that prescription amphetamines and anti-anxiety medications have been abused for decades. Excessive use of Benzedrine (amphetamine sulfate) helped make Jack Kerouac a literary star, and one of the Rolling Stones' most famous songs is about Valium (diazepam) pill popping.

So fellow Patchers, this week I ask you:

Do we do enough to educate kids about prescription drug abuse? Have you had the "prescription drug" talk with your children?

Dana April 28, 2011 at 03:53 PM
See the data from Monitoring the Future's most recent study with a section that compares prescription drugs to street drugs http://www.homehealthtesting.com/infographic/teen-drug-use.html
jeff April 28, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Parents need to be the ones to realize the impact of drugs on teens. They are not doing enough to educate their teens about drugs. They just believe if they don't talk about it, things will be ok. Myteensavers has seen the huge spike in prescription drug abuse. Kids as young as 8-years-old are trying pills, and stealing them to sell to friends. This is a real problem. Heroin problem in your neighborhood? There's a good chance those users began their opiate addiction with prescription drugs. Myteensavers counselors also believe that parents should use home drug testing kits on their children. This will help deter and detect drug use. Too many lives have been derailed because of teen drug use.

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