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    Prescription Drug Safety

    Why you should be concerned:

    • FACT: Among persons ages 12 or older who used pain relievers nonmedically in the past year, an estimated 70% obtained them from a friend or relative. (NSDUH 2011)
    • FACT: In 2011, nonmedical use of prescription drugs among youth and young adults ages 12 - 25 was the second most prevalent illicit drug use category, with marijuana being first. (NSDUH 2011)
    • FACT: According to the Federal Drug Abuse Warning Network, emergency room visits due to abuse of prescription drugs are greater than the number of visits due to abuse of marijuana and heroin combined.
    • FACT: Young adults ages 18-24 are particularly at risk, with increases in heroin/opioid treatment admissions throughout the state. In particular, upstate New York (222% increase in admissions) and Long Island (242% increase) have been hard hit by this problem. (NYS Client Data System)
    • FACT: Between 2007 and 2012, the number of individuals using heroin during the past 30 days more than doubled nationwide (161,000 to 335,000). (NSDUH 2012)
    • FACT: The percentage of New York State high school students who reported using heroin more than doubled between 2005 and 2011 (1.8 % to 4%). Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) One of the most striking aspects of the misuse of prescription medications has been the increase in painkiller abuse, which can lead to heroin use. Prescription drug abuse is the use of prescription medication in a manner that is not prescribed by a health care practitioner. This includes using someone else’s prescription or using your own prescription in a way not directed by your doctor.
    • Most people take prescription medication responsibly under a doctor’s care. However, there has been a steady increase in the nonmedical use of these medications, especially by teenagers. Part of the problem is the availability of medications (over-the-counter and prescription) in the family medicine cabinet, which can provide easy access for children, adults, elderly and visitors. People
      often mistakenly believe these medications are safe because they are approved by the FDA and prescribed by a physician. Nonmedical use of certain prescription drugs can lead to addiction.

    Source: combatheroin.ny.gov/resources

    For additional information on how to protect your children and teens from prescription drug misuse and abuse: