Friday, February 21, 2014

Prescription Drug Abuse by Unified Police Department

Police Officers are seeing an increase in prescription drug abuse and prescription overdose deaths.  Many of these situations involve individuals who were originally prescribed a prescription to control side effects from chronic pain, surgery or other ailments; however Officers are also seeing an alarming number of youth utilizing these drugs for a sought after “high” or “effect.”  With the street cost of these prescription drugs typically exceeding the cost of other illicit narcotics, these same individuals typically resort to buying Heroin and/or Cocaine for the desired effect.  This transition poses additional challenges and dangers…

What are the causes and risk factors for children?

Drug abuse has been linked to: low parent supervision, family conflicts, inconsistent parental discipline, a family history of alcohol or drug abuse, abuse, learning problems, emotional instability, and the perception that prescription drugs are safe, and using them is risk-free.

·      From 2000-2011 prescriptions for hydrocodone and oxycodone have increased by a staggering 45.4% and 111.1% (respectively).
·      In Salt Lake County alone, accidental overdose deaths by prescription drugs have increased from 59 in 2011 to 113 in 2012.
·      71.1% of overdose deaths are attributed to substance abuse problems, to include using illegal drugs of abusing prescription medications.  60.1% of overdose deaths are attributed to physical health problems.
·      Prescription narcotic deaths outnumber all motor vehicle crash deaths combined!

Where do they get them?
  1. 56%   Free from friend/relative
  2. 19%  Prescribed by one doctor
  3. 9%    Bought from friend/relative
  4. 7%    Other
  5. 5%    Took from friend/relative without asking
  6. 4%    Drug dealer or stranger
Potential Signs of Drug Use?

Mood swings
Sudden changes in interests and friends
Failing or dropping grades
Verbally or physically abusive
Drug Paraphernalia (Pipes, tin foil, torch lighters, baking soda, rolling papers, packaging, etc.)

Parents of Teens:      

Clearly communicate to teens about the negative physical and emotional effects of drugs.
Properly supervise! Know where, how, and with whom your children socialize.
Lock up substances that can be abused: Inhalants, Alcohol, Prescription and OTC medications.

Be Proactive!                

Take advantage of community drug take-back programs to dispose of unwanted medications. 

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