Are Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Efforts Working?

Sometimes parents don’t know how to talk about drugs to their children. Some parents think that drug abuse would never become an issue for their children and others just put off talking about drug abuse because they think they have all the time in the world. One parent, Dorothy Rhodes, knows that she should have addressed the potential for drug abuse in her child before he died of a fatal overdose of fentanyl. Instead of talking to him about the dangers of drugs, she had to plan his funeral and regret a conversation she never had with her son.

“In our community, we didn’t have a problem. That was the mentality. No one talked about it,” explained Rhodes. This viewpoint may be behind the growing number of deaths related to prescription drug abuse. In fact, every day 45 people die from a prescription drug overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This alarming statistic proves that the only thing parents should be wondering is how often to discuss the drug problem their children and in what detail.

So why are so many people dying from prescription painkillers? “It’s the fact that these medicines are legal that makes it very challenging. These medicines are found in most household medicine cabinets, so therefore young people believe that they are safe. Young people think they are safer than illegal drugs and they are not, ” explained General Arthur Dean the Chief Executive Officer of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA).

The fight to lower the number of people abusing prescription drugs in our country has been in full force for a few years now. Efforts to educate parents, healthcare providers, teachers and students have been a high priority and have even taken center stage in many political arenas. It is clear that people need to be educated that these drugs are not only dangerous, but they are just as addictive and deadly as street drugs.

Thankfully, it appears that some of these efforts are beginning to make a dent in the problem. Recent national statistics show that both the number of people abusing prescription drugs and those dying from overdoses have slightly declined for the first time in many years. Despite this seemingly good news, the numbers are still outrageously high and much more needs to be done on a continual basis to help save lives.