Saying prescription drug abuse is the state's fastest-growing substance abuse threat, Iowa's drug policy coordinator is asking Iowans to take action at home during next week's inaugural Medicine Abuse Project to prevent prescription drug abuse.
Iowans should talk to their kids, secure their medicines and safely dispose of unused prescription drugs, Steve Lukan, director of the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy, said in a release.
Nationally, one of the project's goals is to prevent a half-million teens from abusing prescription drugs in the next five years.
"Mounting evidence shows medicine abuse is adversely affecting the health and safety of an increasing number of Iowans," said Lukan. "Properly administered prescription medicines are a tremendous help for many patients, but when those same medicines are abused they can be dangerous, and even deadly."
Iowa recorded 62 prescription pain reliever overdose deaths in 2011, a 1,450 percent increase since 2000. Public calls for help to the statewide Poison Control Center for the same types of medicine were up 2,297 percent from 2002 to 2011.
In recognition of these trends, a clinic recently opened in West Des Moines that specializes in helping businesses to avoid abuse among their employees.
Click here to read a Business Record article about the clinic.
Next week's activities will be capped off with Take-Back events on Sept. 29 in select communities for safe disposal of unused prescription medicines. For more information on the Medicine Abuse Project, the pledge form and other related activities, go to www.medicineabuseproject.org.