Last month, our president Steve Pasierb provided testimony to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in support of safety regulations governing the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act and the creation of a national prescription drug take-back program. Having worked closely with the DEA on prescription (Rx) drug abuse issues, including the recent National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, Pasierb strongly encouraged the administration to make the take-back program easy to use, but also to create a consumer education effort to create a sense of urgency around prescription drug abuse so that people utilize take-back resources in their community. Excerpts from his testimony include:
“We believe that the abuse of prescription medications – legal substances of great benefit when used appropriately – is the single most troubling phenomenon on today’s drug abuse landscape. We remain committed to a long-term effort to educate the public on the risks of intentional medicine abuse and to reducing the level of abuse in society. Our data shows that one in five teens has used a prescription drug to get high and Rx drugs are now the most widely abused drugs among 12 to 13 year olds. Part of the reason for the widespread abuse of medicine is that it is so easy to obtain. The home medicine cabinet is the number one source of abused prescription medicines.
In our research among parents, we found that too often they share some of their children’s misconceptions about the safety of taking a prescription drug without a doctor’s order. If we expect parents to clean out the medicine cabinet, get in the car and drive someplace to dispose of their medicine, we must devote necessary, sustained resources in all forms of media to educate them about the risks that abusing these medications can pose and motivate them to properly dispose of unused medications. With significant effort, we can reduce teen access to these substances and we can successfully drive down the behavior of intentional medicine abuse.”