8 Dec 2011

Prescription drug use rises locally and nationally

Author: Anna Christoff | Filed under: Fall 2011, Student Contributor

By: Anna Christoff

Prescription drug use has been on the rise not only in Wood County but also in the state of Ohio and the entire country, officials said.

Locally, there is a significant problem in Wood County with prescription drug abuse, said Wood County Detective Lt. Jamie Webb.

Unintentional drug poisoning has caused Ohio’s death rate to increase more than 350 percent from 1999 to 2008, and is now the leading cause of injury death in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Within the past year, 2.4 million Americans used prescription drugs non-medically for the first time, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Opioid pain relievers are the highest abused prescription drug with overdose death rates that have quadrupled since 1999, and by 2007, outnumbered those involving heroin and cocaine.

Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic problem in Wood County, Webb said.

“People obtain prescriptions and then sell them.  These people then become addicted and this addiction can’t be stopped.  They must maintain a high every day because of the severe physical withdrawals they get,” he said.

Wood County has seen a direct correlation between property crimes, burglaries, and robberies among those addicted to prescription drugs, he said.

“The age range of users start at teenagers and go up to adults in their 50’s and 60’s,” he said.

Among youth in Wood County, prescription drugs are the third most popular drug used, alcohol being the first and marijuana being the second, according to the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network. 

Youth use prescription drugs because of easy access, peer approval and price decreases due to higher availability, said Lorrie Lewandowski, coordinator and supervisor for Wood County Educational Service Center.

Prescription drug use is also a problem on the Bowling Green State University Campus.

“There has been an increasing trend of abuse among prescription drugs on campus in the last few years,” said Timothy James, Capt. for the Bowling Green Police Division.

Many students see prescription drugs to be not as bad as other illegal drugs.  Due to people being legitimately prescribed to prescription drugs, access is easier, he said.

Common prescription drugs used on campus are Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse, said BGSU senior Ethan Butterfield.

These drugs are prescription amphetamines used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“I took Adderall and Vyvanse to help me write papers and stay up late, and for those purposes the pills worked great,” he said.

“It seemed like most people I knew would take Adderall when they needed to get work done, and think nothing of it,” he said.

Pills such as Adderall and Vyvanse are not hard to find on BGSU’s campus, he said.

The increase of prescribing in hospitals, private physicians’ offices and pain clinics had made prescription drugs availability increase, according to the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network.

The state of Ohio deemed prescription drug use as an epidemic level problem in 2010, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Locally, the Bowling Green Police Department, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office and the Wood County Hospital collaborated with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to provide an ongoing community drug take-back program.  Collection containers were placed about a week ago at the police and sheriff’s departments, said Lt.  for the Bowling Green City Police Bradley Biller.

“The intent is to provide a place to dispose pharmaceuticals that are not needed.  This may be due a death of a family member or someone not needing their entire prescription,” he said.

The DEA has approved the local drug take-back program for the next year, he said.

On a state-wide level, legislation passed demanding that the governor and pharmacy board provide a drug take-back program, he said.

However, the state’s take-back program has yet to be implemented due to rules by the DEA which makes it difficult for a state wide take back program to be effective, he said.

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One thought on “Prescription drug use rises locally and nationally

  1. Rachel Says:

    Your state is not the only one that is being affected by precription drug use. Where I am from in Maine Oxy use is the highest used drug. Many like you stated sell them for quick cash and then themselves become addicted. It is a sad thing but so many still do it. So many lives are taken or ruined by drug use but I dont think there is an end in sight. There will always be someone who wants drugs and someone who will sell them no matter the consiquences.My company primarily offers drug addiction treatment, though we are interested in sharing views and learning more through this and other forums. http://www.recoveryfirst.org