Colorado Launches Campaign to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse

“Take Meds Seriously.”

It might sound like the title of an informational pamphlet you’d see at your doctor’s office, but in reality that is the name of the new campaign launched by Gov. John Hickenlooper to address our state’s frightening rise in prescription drug abuse – especially among the state’s teenagers. The campaign is part of a larger and stricter push against recreational use of prescription drugs in the state of Colorado, coming hot on the heels of recent laws regulating legal marijuana use.

The push includes statewide advertising as well as new public resources, like permanent drop boxes and community take-back events for expired or unneeded medications. The campaign extends beyond spreading awareness about the health dangers for abusers – their message also promotes a responsible disposal and storage of medication, as well as safe practices for regularly prescribed medication.

Hickenlooper’s campaign looks to address medication abuse head-on. Prescription drug abuse statistics coming from Colorado and the rest of the United States paint a grim picture of rising trend. In a 2012 -2013 survey, Colorado ranked 12th in non-medical use of opiate prescription drugs in the country. Thousands of drug abusers aged 18 to 25 went to the emergency room for accidental overdoses during these years, and roughly 85% of those overdoses were from prescription pills. 35 Colorado citizens died per month in 2013 from accidental overdoses.

Additionally, a 2014 survey found that 4 in 10 Colorado adults had taken a medication not prescribed to them, and a third of those adults used the medication recreationally. The survey also found a widespread lack of safety measures around prescription meds. Few interviewed kept their medications under lock and key, and only 1 in 10 had returned expired medication to police and sheriff departments.

The site’s statistics warn that forgoing safety measures such as these can have dangerous consequences. Teenagers who steal prescription drugs from their parents brag that the pills are easier to acquire than beer. 1 in 7 high-school aged teenagers admitted to taking a prescription drug without a doctor’s permission. Stimulant abuse is also on the rise with young adults, particularly college students. 1 in 5 college students admitting to abusing prescription stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin.

In the entire US as a whole, meanwhile, prescription drug abuse is also rising. Prescription related drug treatment admission rates spiked over 400% between 2010 and 2013. Over half of all overdoses in 2013 were from prescription drugs. Recent surveys chart over 17,000 deaths per year in America from painkiller overdose.

The campaign site has a great deal of these statistics, in addition to resources for anyone curious about drug crime laws in Colorado. The site also features real and gripping stories and interviews from individuals and their families, torn apart by prescription drug abuse.

Unlike some recent crackdowns on specific crimes in our state, the “Take Meds Seriously” campaign takes careful steps to protect the rights of individuals who need these drugs for their health. There are guidelines and tips for safe medication management. The site is a comprehensive resource for anyone curious about the extent of prescription abuse in our country and how to convince others to use prescription drugs safely.

Still, this campaign is a reflection of the larger push Colorado is undergoing to crack down on prescription drug abuse. Perhaps you have already experienced this yourself. If you’ve been charged with a crime related to prescription drug use and abuse, you are likely facing incredibly serious penalties that can change the course of your entire life. To ensure your future, you need to act fast and consult with an experienced Colorado drug crimes attorney who knows how to get you the best possible results.


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