America’s biggest drug problem - it’s in our medicine cabinets. In fact, the CDC declared the U.S. Opioid Epidemic a public health emergency in 2017. It reports that prescription drugs are the cause of more deaths by overdose than illicit drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and meth.
In response to this epidemic, the Georgia Prevention Project launched the Georgia Rx Misuse Project campaign and continues to work with youth, young adults, and other community partners to save lives.
In 2019, 4.38 billion prescriptions were filled by Americans. This means that accessing prescription drugs can be easy to do in the home, even if the medications weren’t prescribed to the person taking them. Unfortunately, easy access and misperceptions in the risks of misusing Rx drugs has led to increases in overdose deaths. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that 67,300 Americans died in 2018 from drug involved overdoses, equating to 184 deaths every single day.
Polysubstance use is also on the rise as is stimulant misuse. From 2016 to 2018, overdose deaths involving stimulants increased by 44% and recent data shows young people are also misusing these substances. 1 in 17 high school seniors reported past-year nonmedical use of the prescription stimulant Adderall in 2017 and 1 in 5 teens believe it’s ok to misuse a prescription drug, as long as they weren’t doing so to “get high.”
Talking to our family members about only taking a prescription if it is prescribed for You, by a doctor, is a great place to start! Another great way to prevent misuse is to safeguard your home – see the steps below!
For more information, visit: medicineabuseproject.org/what-you-can-do/safeguard-your-home