The Treatment Research Institute (TRI) joined with the Partnership at Drugfree.org (Partnership) and numerous other private and public organizations in support of a comprehensive campaign to stop medicine abuse.
Prescription drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in this country - surpassing motor vehicle accidents. One in six U.S. teens has taken medicines prescribed for someone else, and most have gotten the medicines from a family member or friend who is unaware of the dangers they pose. TRI encourages supporters to visit the website of the medicine abuse project and to "take the pledge" to "learn about teen medicine abuse, safeguard medicines and to talk to the teens I know about this issue."
Another way to signify support for this Project is for individuals to turn back unwanted or expired medications at a nearby, DEA-sponsored Drug Take Back Day location. The next opportunity to do so is on September 29, 2012.
Separately, TRI has spoken out against the prescription drug epidemic confronting adults and teens alike. Speaking on behalf of the organization, CEO A. Thomas McLellan, PhD has endorsed - as a starting point - the following recommendations for doctors, including pediatricians, that follows the lead of noted surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande:
- Evaluate the patient for known predictors of opioid abuse and dependence including a history of substance dependence and/or significant psychiatric illness.
- Obtain written agreement from the patient that s/he will only obtain medications from one physician and will only fill prescriptions at one pharmacy.
- Consult the state prescription drug monitoring program; and register any newly prescribed patient on that program.
- Get an oral history of the patient's recent medication use; then obtain and analyze a urine drug screen - discrepant results should be a cause for cautious prescribing.
- Instruct the patient and obtain his/her consent to follow safe usage and storage procedures for the prescribed medication.
McLellan said "The prescription drug diversion epidemic is real, and this nation cannot deal with it by interfering with doctors' ability to prescribe life-altering pain management medications that science has provided to them. While doctors hold much of the answer, so do parents, grandparents, and others who care about adolescents and don't want to see them using these extremely dangerous drugs."
On behalf of the Treatment Research Institute, its Parents Translational Research Center, and the many other individuals and groups concerned about the prescription drug epidemic, McLellan urges everyone to do their part by, at least, "Taking the Pledge" and visiting a Drug Take Back Day location. Doing one or both will help to combat this epidemic, he said.