This particular story takes place in New Jersey, but don’t be fooled as there are thousands of communities across North America that are dealing with the issue of people doing damage to themselves due to the misuse or theft of prescription painkillers. When used correctly these medications can have a profound effect on someone who is dealing with chronic or acute pain, often as a result of a surgical procedure or some sort of illness that can only be manageable, not cured or treated effectively. What sets this report out from the rest is that the good folks at Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey have come up with a five step plan for individuals to follow in order to make their medications safer to keep in the house without the possibility of overdose (if used as prescribed) or the chance of a teenager or young adult stealing the medication in order to get high and share at parties and other gatherings. What sets this organization apart is that they are strongly encouraging families to “get on top” of this issue and talk to their children about the inherent dangers that surround what many people believe are safe medications. The fact is that these narcotic pain relievers come with a strong potential for accidental overdose and addiction, that it’s good to finally see some initiative by organizations to help parents out when it comes to educating their young ones about the risks of narcotic painkillers as well as being able to effectively protect them from the myriad of problems young people can land themselves in if they misuse or steal family member’s pills.
“The American Medicine Chest Challenge can help save the lives of our children,” saidAngelo M. Valente, executive director of PDFNJ. “By participating in AMCC’s 5 Step Challenge, families throughout New Jersey are safeguarding their home from the potential misuse and abuse of medicine. The 5-steps include taking inventory of your medicine, securing your medicine, taking medicine only as prescribed, safely disposing of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine, and talking to children about the dangers of prescription drugs.”
These 5 steps aren’t hard to follow, and the potential impact they can have is a great first step in dealing with what the CDC calls an “epidemic” across both the US and Canada. In fact the language the CDC now uses in the case of prescribed pain relievers is very aggressive and firm. According to CDC statistics the accidental deaths due to misuse of painkillers has more than tripled in the past decade alone, and there are no signs that it is slowing down. Possibly even more frightening is the fact that 70% of people who abuse prescription pain relievers obtained them from their friends and relatives, and not through proper means due to an illness or injury.
There is no way to tell whether these 5 steps will, ultimately, make a huge difference, but perhaps what we should be aiming for are enough small differences in order to sway the tide in favor of sobriety and proper drug education in order to prevent as many overdoses and cases of addiction as possible.