Pill Junkies Get Stash From Friends
"We are in the midst of a public health epidemic driven by prescription drug abuse," Gil Kerlikowske, director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, was quoted in HealthDay as saying during a news conference Wednesday. "Prescription painkiller abuse led to 15,500 overdose deaths in 2009, which is more than cocaine and heroin combined."
That figure also topped the number of fatalities from motor vehicle accidents for the first time. Even more disturbing, a U.S. government analysis revealed that over 70% of those who get hooked on prescription medications obtain their first pills from their friends or family members, either free for the asking or simply by copping them from medicine cabinets.
The researchers re-analyzed data from the 2009 and 2010 U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health. HealthDay reports that Kerlikowske urged Americans to participate in "National Take-Back Day" sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Saturday, April 28. In more than 5,000 locations throughout the United States, people can turn in unused or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal.