As prescription drug abuse continues to claim many lives in California, in a heartening move communities throughout the state came out in large numbers to get rid of their unwanted or unused prescription drugs on the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day (NPDTBD) that was observed on April 29, 2017. In Sacramento alone, authorities managed to collect 1,048 pounds of prescription drugs in just half a day, winding up the event an hour early as they had run out of space to store the leftover medicines.
“It’s a good indicator of how much surplus medication is out there,” said Matt McPhail, spokesperson for the Sacramento Police Department. Sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the NPDTBD aims to provide a safe and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs.
Media reports suggest that the DEA and its partners took back 10,914 pounds of prescription drugs at 40 locations in San Diego County and another 471 pounds of prescription drugs across four locations in Imperial County. DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman said that it was a pleasure to see Southern Californians making efforts to make their homes safer for younger people. He said that they could now avail the benefits of permanent medicine take-back bins placed strategically at over 38 locations in San Diego County.
The bins are the outcome of the partnership between the Sacramento Police Department and the “Don’t Rush to Flush” program of California Product Stewardship Council. From a national perspective, the event brought in 900,386 pounds (450 tons) of prescription drugs from about 5,500 sites across the United States.
According to McPhail, flushing down prescription medicines or throwing them in the trash causes groundwater pollution. The California State Board of Pharmacy (CSBP) says that sewage systems cannot remove all of the medications people flush down the toilet and as a result, 80 percent of U.S. streams contain small amounts of human medicine.
Just as in other parts of the country, the opioid epidemic is a grave concern in California. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), reported a surge in opioid-related overdoses with over 4,100 emergency room admissions in 2014. Additionally, some California counties have opioid prescription death rates that are two to three times higher than the national average. Statistics reveal a shocking number of young addicts living in the affluent areas of big cities who were inadvertently pushed into heroin addiction due to pain relievers prescribed by their doctors.
Addiction to pharmaceutical drugs is wreaking havoc
Today, America is in the midst of an opioid-related overdose crisis, as statistics suggest that an alarming six out of 10 drug overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2000 to 2015, more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. In fact, 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose across the country, where managing pain represents a national challenge.
One of the reasons why most Americans are unaware of the dangers of prescription drugs is an inherent misapprehension about the drug testing and approval procedures. Many are led into a false sense of belief that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has a rigorous testing and evaluation mechanism in place. This is actually far from the truth as the current system shrugs the entire onus of clinical trials and safety testing of a new drug on the pharmaceutical company, which develops the drug.
In recent years, research has shown that the number of opioids prescribed to patients as well as the subsequent fatal opioid overdoses has reached alarming figures. Studies conducted by several national health agencies suggest that lower back pain is the most common neurological ailment in the U.S., followed by severe headaches or migraines, neck pain and facial ache. Therefore, a nationwide cultural transformation is essential to identify, assess, treat and prevent all types of pain. Health care providers, government agencies, health care educators and patient advocacy groups should come forward to lead this initiative.
For effective long-term patient care, experts in the medical community believe that a customized and multi-disciplinary approach should be the way ahead. Moreover, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), pain management via the long-term use of opioids lacks sufficient data to support its use, thereby throwing up new possibilities of other alternative treatment options such as physical therapy and complementary medicine.
Journey to recovery
Addiction can alter anyone’s brain and behavior, making it almost impossible to withstand the temptation of a drug or prescription medicines. It is unfortunate that many individuals consider prescription drugs to be safe and disregard the directions given by their doctors. The truth is that any form of misuse or overdose is highly dangerous.
The need of the hour is to provide citizens with access to addiction help, which includes useful information on treatment for addiction and non-narcotic methods to manage pain, build healthier relationships and self-esteem. Importantly, pharmacists must keep a careful watch to identify counterfeit prescriptions or any alterations, which could lead to abuse or overdose.
Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of harmful substances despite the negative impact on his or her life. Our customized drug addiction treatment programs are tailored to individual needs in order to treat the person holistically. Addiction recovery programs at Sovereign Health of San Clemente are designed to assist those individuals whose pain has led to an addiction of either prescription and/or illegal drugs.
If you or your loved one is battling addiction to any prescription drug, get in touch with Sovereign Health to gain access to the latest and innovative treatment methods at our state-of-the-art drug rehabilitation centers spread across the U.S. Whether you are looking for substance addiction treatment centers in California or other addiction rehab facilities at a place closer home, call at our 24/7 helpline number or chat online to know about the most effective rehab programs at our reliable drug addiction rehab centers.