The prescription drug-abuse problem in the US has grown to epidemic proportions in recent years. According to MedlinePlus, a service of the US National Library of Medicine, an estimated 20% of people in this country have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) cites a 2011 University of Michigan study that prescription drugs such as Vicodin (acetaminophen; hydrocodone bitartrate), Adderall (amphetamine aspartate; amphetamine sulfate; dextroamphetamine saccharate; dextroamphetamine sulfate), and cough medicine are abused more among seniors in high school than illicit drugs such as MDMA, hallucinogens, and cocaine.
The NIDA study also points out that unintentional drug overdose deaths from opioid analgesics has dramatically increased beyond those resulting from cocaine and heroin use from 1999–2008 (skyrocketing beyond 10,000 deaths per year beginning in 2006 onward). So, given the fact that problem has clearly exacerbated in recent years, “Who ya gonna call?”
There have been several initiatives launched to combat this crisis, including those resulting from partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and government bodies. Earlier this week, Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma issued a grant of $200,000 to the National Association of State Controlled Substances Authorities (NASCSA) at the organization’s 28th annual conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. According to an Oct. 23, 2012, Purdue press release, the grant is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support the operation, expansion, and awareness of appropriately-designed state prescription-drug monitoring programs.
“Since 2001, Purdue has been working to support the implementation of appropriately designed prescription monitoring programs as one way to help reduce abuse and diversion of prescription medications,” said Alan Must, vice-president of state government and public affairs at Purdue in the release. “Reducing the abuse of prescription medications will take the combined and coordinated efforts of healthcare professionals, law enforcement, government agencies, and local communities. NASCSA is an organization that is uniquely qualified to address the issues of prescription drug abuse from a broad inclusive perspective and we are delighted to provide this funding for this initiative.”
It’s encouraging to see pharmaceutical companies putting aside their bottom lines to support efforts to help quell the flow of illegally-used prescription drugs in order to encourage the safety and well-being of the youth of America.