It kills 100 people every day. It is prescription drug overdose.
"I was told to talk about this by my adolescent patient who just became clean after a year long battle with opiate drug addiction, that she got addicted to by stealing from her parents and grandparents medicine cabinet when they were totally unaware," said Dr. LuAnn Labian from the Traverse Area Pediatrics and Adolescent Clinic. "That's pretty strong when it is coming from the kids themselves saying, 'help protect us.'"
According to the Center For Disease Control, drug overdose deaths tripled from 1990, and 75% of that is from opioid pain relievers. Common opioids include Vicodin, Oxycotin, Percocet, Methadone, and Codeine.
The CDC also reports there are 100 deaths a day from prescription drug overdose. That is more than heroine and cocaine combined.
"In 2010, one in 10 people age 12 years and older have reported using prescription pain killers," said Dr. Labian. "Enough pain killers were prescribed to medicate every adult American around the clock for one month."
The CDC reports one baby is born drug addicted per hour in the U.S., and the average cost is $60,000 per stay in the hospital for withdrawal. Dr. Labian said Traverse City we went from three drug addicted babies in 2003, to 35 in 2009, and expects new numbers to be even higher.
"Some people may not be aware that these drugs can be dangerous and should only be taken with doctor supervision," said Labian. "And never shared with family members."
What can parents do?
The drug-free Northern Michigan campaign says "Be the solution." Dr. Labian agrees.
"Dispel the myth that prescription drugs are safe because they are prescribed by a physician," said Labian. "Also, dispel the perception that it is not a problem in our community."
Dr. Labian also said parents can reduce availability by placing prescription drugs in a safe, secure place, and by disposing of all medications properly when done using.
To learn more about the prescription drug abuse and overdose, and what you can do, click the video above.
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