Campaign To End Teenage Prescription Drug Abuse
Steve Giroux, an independent pharmacy owner from Middleport, N.Y., and president of the National Community Pharmacists Association, issued the following statement today on the White House campaign to prevent prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse by teenagers:
"Patients should routinely discuss the dangers of their prescriptions with the children in their homes, as well as with their community pharmacist. Medicines are small but powerful health tools with the ability to heal -- or cause harm if not used appropriately.
"The National Community Pharmacists Association applauds the White House's announcement of a White House task force to address the abuse of legitimate prescriptions, along with an ad campaign launched last night during the Super Bowl.
"One problem associated with abuse of prescription drugs is the routine shipping of 90-day supplies through the mail from facilities owned by pharmacy benefit managers. In most parts of the world, a 30-day supply is the norm -- also the maximum amount that these same pharmacy benefit managers allow community pharmacies to dispense.
"With so many pills delivered in mailboxes or on front door steps, placed in the medicine cabinet or on the kitchen counter, it is very difficult for consumers to account for every painkiller (Vicodin), sleeping aid (Ambien), or anti-anxiety medication (Valium) increasing the risk for teenagers or other family member to experiment with medications not prescribed for them. As a practicing pharmacist, I see medications that are discontinued well before all of the medication has been taken. Even if it is not an 'abusable' drug, the potential for accidental poisoning is always present. In addition, disposal of unneeded prescription drugs is a major environmental risk for our waterways and landfills.