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September 3, 2013
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Letter: Prescription drug abuse has increased in Douglas County and across the nation

Do you provide drugs of abuse?

Douglas County’s biggest drug problem could be coming from your medicine cabinet. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, as is evident by the recent article regarding the spike of overdoses among middle-aged women.

The problem is also reaching our youth. Four of the top five drugs abused by 12-graders are prescription drugs. Many people believe misusing prescription medications is safer than using street drugs. Unfortunately, this myth is dead wrong. Unintentional drug poisoning is now the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States. When used differently than prescribed or without a prescription, some medications can lead to health, legal, social, and personal development issues.

Douglas County has not been untouched by this epidemic. As a Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team task force member, I know local law enforcement authorities and social services program workers have seen a dramatic increase in prescription drug abuse. It is surpassing the use of methamphetamine in our county and increasing detrimental effects on families. Abusers frequently find these drugs in medicine cabinets of friends and family. Examples of frequently abused medications include prescription painkillers (e.g., OxyContin, Vicodin), sedatives/tranquilizers (e.g., Valium, Xanax), and stimulants (e.g., Adderall, Ritalin).

How can you stop prescription drug abuse? Always keep your prescription medications secure. Dispose of unused medications by taking them to a local law enforcement agency, such as the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, or placing them in the trash mixed with unappealing substances such as kitty litter or coffee grounds. Never share your prescription medications or use them differently than prescribed. Not only is it potentially dangerous, it is against the law.

Susan Suchomel,



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The News-Review Updated Sep 27, 2013 03:18PM Published Sep 13, 2013 12:23PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.