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Guest column: Prescription drug abuse needs to be addressed
by Larry Jacobs
Guest Columnist
October 17, 2013 03:37 PM | 1431 views | 0 0 comments | 87 87 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Officer Larry Jacobs
Officer Larry Jacobs
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Prescription medicines are now the most commonly abused drugs among 12- to 13-year-olds.

More teens are abusing prescription medicine than ever before. Findings from The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, show that one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime. That is a 33 percent increase since 2008.

One in four teens believes prescription drugs can be used as a study aid. Nearly one-third of parents believe ADHD medication can improve a child’s academic or testing performance, even if the teen does not have ADHD.

Parrnts need to take action. One-third of teens believe it’s OK to use prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them to deal with an injury, illness or physical pain. Forty-three percent of teens indicate prescription drugs are easier to get then illegal drugs. More than four in 10 teens who have misused a prescription drug obtained it from their parent’s medicine cabinet.

One in five kids report having misused a prescription drug and have done so before the age of 14.  One in five parents indicates they have given their teen a prescribed drug that was not prescribed to them.

The above statistics are from http://medicineabuseproject.org.

OK, are you scared, shocked and angry yet? Well, you should be. We are a society of prescription drug users. We are bombarded by TV ads from pharmaceutical companies 24/7 telling us that we all have some issue that can be cured by a prescription drug.

What can you do? Visit the Medicine Abuse Project at http://medicineabuseproject.org. It’s a great site for information for parents and grandparents, health care providers, communities, Law enforcement and educators.  

How is the Sandy Springs Police Department doing its part? For the past several years, we have participated in the DEA National Take-Back Initiative. Twice a year, this national event collects thousands of pounds of unused, outdated, unneeded and unmarked prescription medicines.  This event occurs in April and October each year, on a Saturday, from 10 a.m. to  2 p.m.  Several years ago when the department first participated, we collected about 40 pounds. Last April, we collected more than 150. The next scheduled initiative is schedule for Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Sandy Springs Police will once again participate.

Visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html to learn more about the project and to find a collection place near you. The following site will also give you locations of where these boxes are currently installed: http://www.medreturn.com.  

There is a permanently located prescription drug collection box located in the lobby of the Sandy Springs Police Department. In the first week alone, we have collected almost 20 pounds of medications. You may drop off medicines, no questions asked, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. excluding holidays and weekends.  

Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department.  He can be reached directly at ljacobs@sandyspringsga.gov.
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