October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month is observed annually in October. The purpose is to help raise awareness about the dangers of prescription (Rx) drug abuse and over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse. National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month urges communities to educate parents and youth of the potential dangers associated with prescription and OTC medicine abuse and to hold educational events throughout the month of October to generate discussions in the community. More than 6 million people ages 12 or older have abused a prescription drug and one in 10 youth ages 12 through 17, or 2,400,000 children have intentionally abused cough medicine to get high. According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, since 2002 prescription drug abuse has increased 20 percent among those ages 12 and older. Among those ages 12-17, prescription drug abuse increased 17 percent, jumping from 2.3 percent of youth in 2008 to 2.7 percent in 2009.

Kids Steal Their Parents Medicine

What seems to be causing this? Look at your own medicine cabinet for the source of our nation's fastest-growing drug epidemic. Young people look no farther and they can usually score quite well without leaving home. When people are taking more than the prescribed amount it does not take too long to develop an addiction. Registered pharmacist Todd Brown, MHP, R.Ph., who is the vice chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University says that, “If you suspect a friend or family member is abusing medications, watch for behavioral changes that include them being moody, depressed or anxious or if they're looking for your medications, that's a sign.” According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consumers should take certain precautions before throwing out prescription pills. Rather than flushing them down the toilet it is a good alternative to look for a community-based "take-back" program. These are usually available in all communities. Do your part for National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month.