Drug Diversion and Abuse: Not in My House

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Teen prescription drug abuse is on the rise. Two groups have come together to launch a new Web site to provide education and offer tips to combat the problem.

John Burke, commander of the Warren County, Ohio, drug task force and retired commander of the Cincinnati Police Pharmaceutical Diversion Squad, is a 40-year veteran of law enforcement. Cmdr Burke also is the current president of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. For information, he can be reached by e-mail at linkEmail('burke','choice.net');, via the Web site www.rxdiversion.com, or by phone at 513-336-0070.

It is no secret that a significant rise inteenage abuse of prescription drugshas been occurring over the pastseveral years. The Office of NationalDrug Control Policy (ONDCP) has saidthat more than 2 million teens abusedprescription drugs in 2007. In addition,2500 teens per day initiate prescriptiondrug abuse, and pharmaceuticals arenow the number-1 drug of choice for12- to 13-year-olds in this country.

It also is no secret that a very substantialportion of those drugsabused by teenagers are comingfrom our country's medicinecabinets. Abbott Labsand The Partnership for a DrugFree America have combinedtheir resources to produce anexciting new Web site directedto anyone in our country whowould like to know more aboutthis ever-increasing problem,especially the parents of teenagers.

The Web site, www.notinmyhouse.com, was born recently, and it hits rightto the heart of the problem of the illegaluse of prescription drugs by our youth. Itbegins with an ongoing video of teenagersremoving pharmaceuticals from amedicine cabinet and moves on to highlight3 important steps.

Monitor: Parents should take an inventoryof their current medications. Thisnot only includes whatis on hand, but takinga count of the medication.Sidebar points tellthe reader about signsand symptoms of pharmaceuticalabuse.

Secure: Place yourprescription drugs in aplace where onlyyouwill know their locationor in a locked container.

Dispose: Properly disposeof unneeded oroutdated prescriptionsby mixing them withundesirable productslike kitty litter. Also, removeidentifying labelsfrom prescription vialsto prevent others from obtaining informationthat could lead to unauthorizedrefills or other diversion.

Perhaps one of the mostimportant messages built intoall of the steps is to remindparents to educate other parents,grandparents, and thoseindividuals in homes that theirteenager frequents about thepotential dangers of prescriptiondrug abuse.

One of the segments of theWeb site offers tips on howto talk to your teenager aboutprescription drug abuse and the currentlingo used by youth when talking aboutpharmaceuticals or OTC medication.These tips offer valuable information onhow to get started talking to your teenabout this issue and stress that sayingnothing can be the equivalent of permissionto the adolescent in your home.

The reality of teen prescription drugabuse is brought to the forefront in thisWeb site when the father and sister ofan abusing teenager in Tulsa, Oklahoma,talk about the overdose death of their sonand brother. Prescription drugs and OTCcough syrup combined in this instanceto create a tragedy that this family mustlive with forever. Also included in thisfinal segment are experts in the field ofaddiction and psychology who talk aboutthe problems of teen prescription drugabuse, with a review of the 3 steps totake to reduce adolescent diversion.

In these times of teen abuse of prescriptiondrugs and our youth findingmany of them right in their own homeor the home of their friends and familymembers, this Web site is an outstandingeducational tool for millions ofAmericans. Take a few minutes, go towww.notinmyhouse.com, learn all youcan about the issue, and then spreadthe word. It just might prevent a tragedyin your home, a friend or family member'shome, or even a perfect stranger'shouse. Regardless, it is a positive stepthat all of us can take to reduce teenprescription drug abuse.