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Prescription Drug Abuse

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The opioid epidemic in the U.S. is profoundly tied to two primary issues that are increasing at an alarming rate. The first notable issue is the significantly rise in opioid prescription and healthcare providers who began to prescribe opioids to treat pain in ways that we now know are high-risk and is associated with opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose. There are two routes to prevent opioid drug abuse that became prevalent while I was conducting research in the drug prevention groups perspective. First, is tools to educate and inform healthcare providers now on how to combat drug abuse and secondly, the initiation of programs in schools to explicitly prevent drug abuse even before it happens.

In 2012, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) launched a learning tool that will provide proper training and also learn how to adequately practice patient relations in attempts to address the prescription drug abuse epidemic. The new launched learning tool was created to help medical experts understand and address the prescription drug abuse problem. Nora D. Volkow, director of NIDA says, ‘Physicians can be the first line of defense against prescription drug abuse by knowing how to prescribe opioid pain medications safely and effectively’. The program aims to effectively educate physicians to combat drug addiction from ever happening to begin with. According to data gathered from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) says that the number of young adults (people aged 18 to 25) who used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past month declined 14 percent — from 2 million in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2011. The uneducated prescription of drugs to patients by physicians is the framework for opioid addiction. Ultimately, in part physicians are to blame for. In addition, educating physicians as Volkow describes are the first line of defense but an unintended problem that arises is how to determine who is actually suffering from chronic pain and those suffering from little to mild pain. In expansion of educating physicians the DEA in 2013 created ‘Take-Back Day’ that removes unwanted, unused and expired medications that aims to helps prevent the use of drugs in one way.

Although there are many contributing factors that lead to the abuse of prescription drugs Purdue Pharma in recent months formed the first deal to resolve the many lawsuits blaming the OxyContin maker for fueling the opioid crisis in America. Purdue Pharma is indirectly taking some blame for the drug abuse, addiction, and overdose. Oklahoma’s attorney filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and will be using the funds to fund opioid prevention and addiction treatment. There are controversial debates about who to blame for but there are various aspects to consider but we should move towards programs to sufficiently reduce the number of opioid drug users and abusers.

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The second route of drug prevention is the initiation of programs explicit educating the use of drugs in the school systems. Effort to prevent opioid drug abuse can be seen in some schools where they are inviting pharmacists to convey the dangers of prescription pills. Other initiations are offering emergency counseling via text named ‘Text a Tip’ that are being use in more than 200 school districts in Illinois and California. Some of the efforts included in ‘Text a Tip’ are licensed therapists who are on-call round the clock to respond to kids who text them when they are at a party and are witnessing and being offered drugs. Dana Slowinski says, “We have had kids text at a party and say, ‘There are kids using around me and I don’t know what to do. So, we respond and say, ‘Can you distract yourself, can you leave, can you call a friend or adult to pick you up?”. Researchers and therapists are acknowledging that the use of drugs is prevalent around all age groups and they identified the school age groups to be susceptible to the use of prescription drug use.

Some of the ineffective drug prevention programs are D.A.R.E because it lacks some of the key elements found to be effective in programs such as the reinforcement of lessons over time. Drug Abuse Resistance Education D.A.R.E was created in 1983 where police officers were asked to go to school to warn about the dangers of drug use and “underscore the pluses of a drug-free way of life”. A suggesting for an effective program is one that unfolds over a long period of time or even years so that the goals of programs are reinforced over time and as children mature and encounter different environments.

Conclusively, the younger population and specifically emerging teens need the truth about drugs as opposed to the same strategies that once was subjected in high school. Decades of scare tactics haven’t worked and during the 1980s, drug prevention took the form of the pervasive slogan popularized by Nancy Reagan “Just Say No”. Decades later, many teenagers are still forced to endure similar approaches, despite the many studies over the years showing that programs demanding abstinence not only haven’t lowered drug use but may have increased it. Nine out of 10 people who become addicted tried drugs before the age of 18, according to a 2011 study by researchers at Columbia University. The Surgeon General of the study concluded in a report a few years ago saying, ‘The earlier the exposure, the greater the risk.’

To conclude, there are many efforts to combat the opioid epidemic which some are too focused on finding who to blame, and others who indirectly takes the blame such as Purdue Pharma. The goals of suggested programs have found innovated ways to prevent opioid drug abuse such as ‘Text a Tip’ and the use of pharmacists to convey the danger of prescription drug abuse. In previous efforts such as D.A.R.E they would ask law enforcements to come into schools to scare students off which resulted in close no progress. The scare tactics of the 1980s also proved that new programs should be put in place in schools at younger levels so they can reinforce what they have learned through the programs and take it into different environments.

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Prescription Drug Abuse. (2021, September 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from
“Prescription Drug Abuse.” Edubirdie, 12 Sept. 2021,
Prescription Drug Abuse. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Mar. 2023].
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