Archive for category Prescription Drug Abuse
The world has seen an increase in the number of drug-related deaths in recent months. Most of the drug users have opted to buy their substances of choice from clubs, parties and music festivals because they want to achieve that certain kind of high that they could not normally get. Their reasons may vary but the result is the same: drug addiction that may lead to death.
Some of these commonly abused drugs are medically prescribed to treat chronic pain. However, the effect of masking out the pain is the release of dopamine, the “happy center” of the brain. Taking more than the necessary amount may lead to hallucinations, psychological disturbance, and other unfavorable symptoms.
Some individuals may have access to these drugs from patients who don’t use these substances anymore. However, not being able to properly dispose these drugs may lead to these substances falling into the wrong hands and getting hooked on it.
There is a need for people to be aware that after they have been treated from their health issues, leftover medicines should not be kept inside the house, most especially within reach of young children. Proper disposal prevents accidental exposure and intentional misuse of these drugs.
The Drug Enforcement Agency has carefully classified controlled substances into Schedules I to IV. Every drug that falls under these categories has very strict implementation of the regulation of these drugs. In the same way, the agency has also amended the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 (“Disposal Act”) to ensure that all unused drugs should be discarded safely.
What is the Disposal Act?
The Disposal Act amended the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to give the DEA authority to promulgate new regulations, within the framework of the CSA that will allow ultimate users to deliver unused or leftover controlled substances to appropriate entities for disposal in a safe and effective manner consistent with effective controls against diversion. The main goal of the Disposal Act is to encourage the community to develop a variety of methods of collection and disposal in a secure, convenient, and responsible manner.
Most Commonly Abused Drugs at Home
Some people turn to prescription drugs for several reasons, some of which include the following:
- To relax and be free from tension
- To reduce appetite
- To achieve an unusual high
- To respond to peer pressure
- To escape from personal problems
Worse, some individuals think that using prescription drugs is legal and safe, because these are prescribed by physicians.
Several cases involving individuals rushed to the emergency department were related to misuse of prescription drugs intended for their family members. Some of these drugs include:
- Pain relievers (Oxycontin)
- Tranquilizers (Valium, Zolpidem)
- Stimulants (Adderall, Ritalin)
- Codeine Syrup/Promethazine
All of these drugs may produce untoward effects if ingested in large amounts and may eventually lead to death.
Options on How to Dispose Unused Medicines
Any unused or expired medicines should be immediately taken out from homes to prevent possible misuse and ingestion of children and other individuals. Some may become too curious about the effects of certain drugs most especially if these are drugs that are being mentioned online and in news articles. In short, curiosity may result to potential drug addiction.
Take Back Initiative
To address the issue on exposure to leftover medication, the government has created a Take Back program to safely dispose most types of unneeded or unused medicines. Collection sites are put up by the DEA periodically so that communities may be able to safely dispose their unused prescription drugs.
These take back programs can also be hosted by the local law enforcement agencies in different communities. At the same time, the people in the community may be able to contact their local waste management authorities to learn more about the proper disposal options and guidelines for their areas.
Drug Collection Stations
Another option is to dispose these unused medicines via DEA-authorized collectors that can safely and securely collect these medicines containing controlled substances. DEA-authorized collectors include hospitals, clinics or retail pharmacies. Some authorized collection sites offer mail-back programs wherein they provide drop boxes to help consumers in safely disposing their unused medicines.
For Communities with no Take Back Program
Not all communities may have the Take Back program or DEA-authorized collection stations, but that does not mean that unused medicines should be kept.
Throw them in the trash
The other option of disposing these medicines is by throwing them in the trash. Disposing them should not be done just by throwing them away in their containers. A more effective disposal method is for the capsules or tablets to be mixed with undesirable substances to prevent ingestion. This way, people will be instantly discouraged to take the drugs. The mixture should be placed inside a sealed plastic container. Ensure that all personal information on the prescription label on the empty medicine bottle has been taken out when disposing it.
Flush them in the toilet
Any unused medicines should be properly disposed to prevent from being misused by other individuals. If disposal options such as a take back program or a DEA-authorized collector sites are not readily available, it is best recommended that these medicines be flushed down the sink or toilet as soon as they are no longer needed.
Here is the list of medicines recommended for immediate disposal by flushing:
|Actiq||oral transmucosal lozenge||Fentanyl Citrate|
|Avinza||extended release capsule||Morphine Sulfate|
|Belbuca||buccal soluble film||Buprenorphine Hydrochloride|
|Buprenorphine Hydrochloride||sublingual tablet||Buprenorphine Hydrochloride|
|Butrans||transdermal patch system||Buprenorphine|
|Daytrana||transdermal patch system||Methylphenidate|
|Diladulid||oral liquid||Hydrpmorphone Hydrochloride|
|Dolophine Hydrochloride||tablets||Methadone Hydrochloride|
|Duragesic||extended release patch||Fentanyl|
|Embeda||extended release capsule||Morphine Sulfate|
|Exalgo||extended release tablets||Hydrpmorphone Hydrochloride|
|Fentora||buccal tablets||Fentanyl Citrate|
|Hysingla ER||extended release tablets||Hydrocodone Bitartrate|
|Kadian||extended release capsule||Morphine Sulfate|
|Methadone Hydrochloride||oral solution||Methadone Hydrochloride|
|Morphabond||extended release tablets||Morphine Sulfate|
|Morphine Sulfate||tablets||Morphine Sulfate|
|MS Contin||extended release tablets||Morphine Sulfate|
|Nucynta ER||extended release tablets||Tapentadol|
|Onsolis||buccal soluble film||Fentanyl Citrate|
|Opana ER||extended release tablets||Oxymorhone Hydrochloride|
|Oxecta||immediate release tablets||Oxycodone Hydrochloride|
|Oxycodone Hydrochloride||capsules||Oxycodone Hydrochloride|
|Oxycodone Hydrochloride||oral solution||Oxycodone Hydrochloride|
|Oxycontin||extended release tablets||Oxycodone Hydrochloride|
|Percocet||tablets||Acetaminophen, Oxycodone Hydrocloride|
|Percodan||tablets||Aspirin, Oxycodone Hydrochloride|
|Suboxone||sublingual film||Buprenorphone Hydrochloride, Naloxone Hydrochloride|
|Targiniq||extended release tablets||Oxycodone Hydrochloride, Naloxone Hydrochloride|
|Xartemis XR||tablets||Oxycodone Hydrochloride|
|Xtampza ER||extended release capsule||Oxycodone|
|Xyrem||oral solution||Sodium Oxybate|
|Zohydro ER||extended release capsule||Hydrocodone Bitartrate|
|Zubsolv||sublingual tablets||Buprenorphine Hydrochloride, Naloxone Hydrochloride|
*Updated as of April 2016
There is a need for immediate disposal of these medicines to ensure that no one will be able to use them or accidentally ingest them due to their health risks.
In addition, It is unwise to turn over any unused medicine to another person whom you think is having the same kind of medical condition as you had. It is best to seek professional help rather than to give out any of your unused medicines.
Prior to receiving any kind of medication such as the ones mentioned above, patients should be advised on how to properly dispose unused medications in the event that they have purchased more than they have needed in the process. The doctors should be able to explain information about the expected side effects of the medication, proper handling and disposal instructions and the medication guide.
The FDA together with other federal agencies and medicine manufacturers are committed to finding other options in developing alternative safety disposal policies.
How Dangerous Are Prescription Drugs If Not Disposed Properly?
Prescription drugs such as very potent narcotic drugs and several other controlled substances have instructions for flushing to reduce the danger of unintentional use or misuse.
Fentanyl patch, for instance, is a kind of medication in patch form that delivers the potent medication through the skin. It is advised to flush used or leftover patches because it can cause severe breathing problems and lead to death if accidentally ingested by babies, children, pets and even adults.
Even if a patch has been discarded after use, there are still some traces of the drug left in the patch. That is why it is advised to flush it down the sink or toilet instead of just throwing it in trash bins.
Environmental Concerns in Drug Disposal
Some people are questioning the way of disposing unused medications since they worry that trace levels of drug residue may be flushed down into rivers and lakes and affect the drinking water supply of the community.
Environmental experts have opposed this alternative way of unused medicine disposal, saying that instead of protecting the community from these harmful substances, the flushed drug substances may find their way to the water supply and endanger the health of the whole community.
However, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are continuously monitoring this method of medicine disposal and found no indication of environmental effects due to flushing so far. In other words, flushing unused potent substances poses no harm to the community since the effect of these drugs can only be achieved when the drug itself has been ingested and fully metabolized by the body.
The FDA has been conscientious in reviewing each kind of drug substance that is safe to be disposed by flushing down in the sink of toilets. Their primary aim is to keep the community free from harmful substances and provide a healthy community to live in. It is highly recommended to read the DFA document on Disposal of Unused Medicines to know more about the agency’s suggested disposal methods.
Proper Disposal of Inhaler Products
Inhaler products are prescribed to those who have asthma or other respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These inhalers used to have CFCs, which were found to be harmful to the environment as they may cause destruction of the ozone layer. These days, however, the harmful chemical in inhalers have been replaced by more environmentally friendly substances.
When these inhalers have been consumed, they should also be properly disposed. Since these are aerosol-type products, puncturing the inhaler or setting it directly on fire might be dangerous. Make sure to read the instructions on the label carefully prior to disposing it.
Medicines are intended to help treat medical conditions. However, if these substances are used beyond what is recommended or used by individuals who should not be taking that kind of medicine, it will definitely cause harm.
Drug addiction is a huge problem that continues to plague so many countries. Let us help by initiating campaigns to join the government’s program of properly disposing potent drugs to keep our communities healthy and safe.
Manufacturers of addiction-prone illegal substances keep coming up with ingenious and creative ways to lure teenagers into abuse. In popular media, drugs are also considered “cool” and are effective ways to make a person famous.
This information was shared by Lynn Riemer, who works as president of ACT on Drugs, in front of students of Durango High School. “Things are changing so fast in the illegal drug industry, it’s hard to keep up,” Riemer shared via a news release.
She understands that the old approach of lecturing teenagers to stay away from drugs might not work in the current generation. “I’m not here representing the ‘Just Say No’ program because it doesn’t work… I’m not here to judge you or tell you how to live your life. I’m just going to stand here and give you factual information,” Riemer expressed. Besides, “there’s lots of conflicting information out there, you have to look for reputable scientific studies,” she added.
Previous studies have confirmed the adverse effect of abusing marijuana and illicit substances on teenage brains, and Riemer shared this information with the students. “Teen brains are more likely to become addicted, and because drugs make you feel good, unbelievably good, better than anything natural, they make it so your brain can’t uptake serotonin and dopamine and can’t naturally feel happiness any more.”
In a separate discussion with parents and members of the community, Riemer emphasized the importance of being aware and alert in terms of drug abuse by their kids. “Pay attention to what you see, pay attention to what you smell, pay attention to what you hear… And please don’t think drug dealers still look like a homeless guy under a bridge. They look like everyone in this room.”
Drug abuse remains one of the country’s worst social and health issues, and this new report from a non-profit health organization confirms the already worsening scenario.
According to Trust for America’s Health, deaths linked to drug overdose rose to more than twice in young Americans over more than a decade. From 3.1 deaths per 100,000 individuals aged 12 to 25 in 1999-2001, the figure has since ballooned to 7.3 in 2011-2013. More than half of the reason was due to prescription drug abuse, while a portion was due to the use of heroin.
Trust for America’s Health executive director Jeffrey Levi shared in a news report more about the increase in the number of drug overdose deaths. “These twin epidemics have contributed to the recent tragic rise in overdose deaths,” he said.
Overdose rates vary by state, based on the report’s findings. For instance, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kansas, Montana, and Wyoming registered more than fourfold increase in drug overdose rates. Meanwhile, 12 states have more than tripled their original numbers, and 18 states registered more than twice the previous death toll.
In a more startling discovery, people aged 19 to 25 have the highest risk of fatality due to drug overdose, at 12.7 deaths per 100,000. In contrast, teenagers between 12 to 18 years old registered only 1.6 fatalities per 100,000. “We have a huge opportunity in kids when they are in school, in their early teen years, so that when they reach this older age they will be less likely to be using,” Levi added.
A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry discovered that adolescents are receiving an increasing amount of antipsychotic medication in recent years.
A team of researchers led by Dr. Mark Olfson of New York’s Columbia University reviewed prescription data from U.S. retail pharmacies to check the trend in antipsychotic prescriptions over the years. While children 12 years old and below were issued fewer drugs for psychosis from 2006 to 2010, antipsychotic prescriptions for teenagers from 13 to 18 years of age rose by 1.19 percent. Meanwhile, people aged 19 to 24 were prescribed 0.84 percent more than in previous years. “In older teenagers and young adults, a developmental period of high risk for the onset of psychotic disorders, antipsychotic use increased between 2006 and 2010,” the researchers said in a news release.
The study proponents conclude that the differences in data for each age group may have something to do with the need to address their respective concerns. “Age and sex antipsychotic use patterns suggest that much of the antipsychotic treatment of children and younger adolescents targets age-limited behavioral problems,” the team added.
Furthermore, the research team believes that prescribing antipsychotic drugs should involve more responsibility. “Clinical policy makers have opportunities to promote improved quality and safety of antipsychotic medication use in young people through expanded use of quality measures, physician education, telephone- and Internet-based child and adolescent psychiatry consultation models and improved access to alternative, evidence-based psychosocial treatments.”
A new study published in the Journal of Perinatology discovered an alarming increase in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) from 2009 to 2012. Cases of infants born with NAS in the U.S. were roughly 3.4 of 1,000 births in 2009, but increased twofold to 5.8 for every thousand deliveries in 2012.
Study lead author Dr. Stephen Patrick, who works at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, said in a news report that the primary reason behind this trend is the increase in prescription drug abuse. “The rise in neonatal abstinence syndrome mirrors the rise we have seen in opioid pain reliever use across the nation. Our study finds that communities hardest hit by opioid use and their complications, like overdose death, have the highest rates of the NAS,” Patrick said. Meanwhile, senior study author Dr. William Cooper emphasized the impact of NAS in today’s society. “The findings of this study demonstrate that neonatal abstinence syndrome is a growing public health problem in the United States and places a tremendous burden on babies, their families, and the communities in which they live,” Cooper stated.
The country’s east south central section, composed of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, registered the highest rate of NAS at 16.2 births per thousand.
This study further confirms the importance of preventive intervention to address NAS, particularly by focusing on programs against opioid abuse. “Too often in our health system we react to problems instead of forging public health solutions. Imagine if we were able to use the dollars spent to treat NAS on improving public health systems aimed at preventing opioid misuse and improving access to drug treatment for mothers,” Patrick added.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper addressed students at the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ Career Center to discuss prescription drug abuse and relaunch his awareness campaign on the issue. Roughly 35 students listened to the Attorney General during digital media and health science classes. Cooper visited the career center and Kennedy High School together with Judy Billings, who works with the Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit of the State Bureau of Investigation.
Cooper’s Stop Rx Abuse video campaign was a huge success in the state, and that’s why on its fourth year of running the campaign, he is opening up the contest to interested applicants as early as 12 years old. The competition invites high school and middle school students to submit PSA videos 30 seconds long to fight prescription drug abuse. Video entries must be uploaded to YouTube before the April 15 cutoff. Contestants who are awarded the best videos will receive any of the following: Apple iPad, iPod Touch, or Amazon gift cards.
Cooper believes that teenagers need to be aware of the dangers of this lingering drug issue. ““For most teens, finding prescription drugs to abuse is as simple as opening up the medicine cabinet… When used incorrectly of mixed with alcohol or other drugs, just one pill can kill and it’s critical that young people help us get this message out to their friends and classmates,” Cooper said in a news release.