Most of you know about the alarming rise in prescription drug use among teens and young adults, especially the rampant use of pain killers and sedatives: Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet, Demerol, as well as cough and cold medicines with and without codeine. But did you know that these prescription drugs are easy to get on the streets and relatively cheap? If used or mixed in quantity, they can have lethal effects: note that in the widely publicized deaths of Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson, they both had a high-level combination of prescribed prescription pain killers and sedatives in their systems.

Our teenagers are falling in the same trap. According to the 2009-10 California Healthy Kids Survey:
  • 8 percent of ninth graders and 12 percent of 11th graders reported using prescription drugs to get high
  • 15 percent of ninth graders and 12 percent of 11th graders reported using cough medicines to get high
  • 4 percent of ninth graders and 6 percent of 11th graders reported using Ritalin or Adderall to get high.

The problem is only getting worse. One way to combat it is by lessening the easy supply. Look into your medicine cabinet and remove old pain killers and sedatives or sleeping aids. Not only are these the most popular drugs among teens, they are also often the most lethal when mixed with alcohol or other drugs or when taken over the dosage suggestions.

You can drop these unused or expired medicines at dozens of pharmacies and health clinics across Marin. For more information: http://marinhhs.com/rxdropoff

 

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