Rx Drug Safety Workgroup
Our Rx Safety Workgroup works diligently at gathering and sharing information to help our team become more effective in its combined efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse in Taos County through youth focused prevention and environmental changes.
We create and share up to date statistics and facts with the youth in local schools and continue to collaborate with like-minded local, statewide, and national coalitions whose goals are similarly aligned with the focus of Rx Drug Prevention.
In the meantime, check out these info-graphics and Media Literacy presentation on Rx drugs in the Media (TV, radio, movies, advertising...)
THE SCOPE OF THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG MISUSE EPIDEMIC
According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, between 6 and 7 million Americans, age 12 and older, have misused a prescription painkiller (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin), sedative (e.g., Valium, Xanax) or stimulant (e.g., Ritalin, Adderall) in the past month1. Approximately 5,500 people do so for the first time every day.
What caused this epidemic?
There is a “perfect storm” for the misuse of medications that is fueled by:
- The normalization of medication use in our society. There are more than 4 billion prescriptions filled every year in the United States, and nearly half of the U.S. population has taken at least one prescription drug in the past month2. The United States is one of only two developed nations which permit direct-to-consumer advertisements for prescription drugs. Our society expects quick fixes and frequently turns to medications to solve our problems.
- There is relatively easy access to medications. For example, although the U.S. comprises less than 5% of the world’s population, Americans consume 80% of the world’s supply of prescription painkillers3. Further, about two-thirds of those misusing these drugs report that they obtained the medications from family members or friends (most often for free).
- Many of us have misperceptions of safety and legality when misusing prescription medications. Some people incorrectly believe that prescription medications cannot cause addiction, that they are safer to misuse than illicit “street” drugs, and that it is legal to use medications that have not been prescribed for us.