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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Friday, October 25, 2013

U.S. Attorney Hartunian is asking everyone to look in their medicine cabinets and dispose of unused prescription drugs this Saturday Prescription drug abuse remains a serious threat to our children, yet there are simple things everyone can do to help

Albany, NY United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian is once again urging parents, grandparents, teachers, nurses and the community as a whole to help stop the abuse of prescription drugs among young people. The problem is more widespread than people think, and there are simple things everyone can do to save those who may fall into such abuse.

"The abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs happens in many, often innocent, ways, but the costs of such abuse can be astronomical," said U. S. Attorney Hartunian. "1 in 8 teens has reported getting high on over-the-counter cough medicine1 and 1 in 12 high school seniors reported nonmedical use of the prescription pain reliever Vicodin along with 1 in 20 reporting they've used OxyContin.2 After marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter medications account for most of the commonly abused drugs by our youth.3 These aren't drugs being manufactured behind closed doors and sold on street comers. These are substances readily available in each of our homes. We all have a responsibility in helping to stop this scary and upward trend of prescription drug abuse."

The trends of prescription drug abuse are escalating. More than one-half of the estimated 2.4 million first-time prescription drug abusers were females and about one-third of them were between 12 and 17 years old.4 Worse yet, among all young adults ages 18 to 25, 5.9% report using nonmedical drugs within the past month in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health study.5

"What's most alarming about these trends of use is where young people are obtaining these drugs," warns U.S. Attorney Hartunian. "Over half of those who reported nonmedical drug use said they were given the drugs by a friend or relative.6 Close to 20 percent said they took the substances from a friend or relative.7 In response, we must do all we can to monitor the prescription drugs that are in our possession, discard unused medications properly and talk with young people about the very real dangers of prescription drug abuse."

Each year the Drug Enforcement Administration hosts a national "Take-Back" day. This year's event is this Saturday, Oct. 26th. Plan to dispose safely of unused prescription drugs on that day at collection sites which will be open between 1 0 am to 2 pm. The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the "Got Drugs?" icon, and following the links to a database where they can enter their zip code. Or they can call 1-800-882-9539.

The Partnership at Drugfree.org has new ads aimed at helping parents and grandparents understand how important it is to monitor the possession of their prescription medications, especially pain killers. You can view and share these ads with everyone you know:

Talk can be one of the most effective tools we have. Talking with your own children and grandchildren about the dangers of prescription drug abuse is important, just as in the past we have talked about the dangers of drinking, drinking and driving and the use of tobacco. When adults have open, honest discussions with young people, they take it to heart. And it just might be one of those conversations, in the end, that keeps your teen from trying nonmedical drugs.

"Take time this week. Don't put it off. Dispose of your unused prescriptions. Talk with the young people around you about these dangers. You may be saving a loved one's life," suggested U.S. Attorney Hartunian.

Steps YOU can take this week to help stop prescription drug abuse

1. DISPOSE of your unused prescription drugs, especially unused pain killers, on Saturday, Oct. 26th. Find a location near you by visiting http://www.dea.gov/index.shtml and clicking on the "Got Drugs?" icon or call1-800-882-9539.

2. WATCH AND SHARE these ads to learn how easy it is to obtain prescription drugs:

3. TALK with your own children and grandchildren about the dangers of using prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications that aren't meant for them. For ideas of what to say, go to www.drugfree.org


Clink on this webinar link and share this link to learn more about Prescription Drug Abuse Link: http://neric.welearntube.org/?q=node/314


1The Medicine Abuse Project, The Partnership at Drugfree.org website
2National Institute on Drug Abuse's Monitoring the Future Survey, 2010
3National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Report Series 5
5National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2010
6University of Michigan, 2010 Monitoring the Future Study

Community Outreach
Updated January 5, 2016