New Mexico has the highest drug – related fatality rate in the United States and painkillers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, play a large role. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, painkiller – related poisonings have increased more rapidly than any other class of substances over the past 11 years.
This epidemic of painkiller misuse and abuse knows no bounds; it affects the young and old, men and women and all income levels.
When taken correctly, painkillers are very effective. However, if painkillers are taken when they are not needed or in excess they can be very dangerous and even deadly. This is because painkillers suppress breathing.
Please take caution when using painkillers. Here are few tips to prevent a painkiller – related poisoning:
- Use as directed. Do not take more than is prescribed without talking to your doctor first.
- Do not share your painkillers with others.
- Make sure that you keep painkillers out of sight and reach of children, including adolescents.
- Dispose of any unused or expired painkillers. Visit the New Mexico Poison Center’s medication safety Web page to learn about local medication disposal programs.
- Begin to talk to your children at age 8 about the dangers of drug misuse and abuse.
As we come to a close for NPPW 2013, I would like to encourage everyone to make poison prevention a year around responsibility.
As usual, you are welcome to share any of the materials as you see fit.