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Hot-Spot    Wednesday, December 12
Prescription Drug Abuse Alert   09-01-2006

ATTENTIONPractitioners!WHAT CAN HEALTHCARE PRACTITIONERS DO?Most patients take prescription medications responsibly, as directed by their prescribers. However, practitioners must also be aware of the increasingproblem with prescription drug abuse. Practitioners prescribing controlledsubstances can counsel patients to the danger posed by taking these medications in a way not directed for treatment or by combining them with other medications or alcohol. Practitioners can also counsel parents to secure their prescriptions, so that children are not tempted to experiment. And if prescription drugs are left over from a previous condition, patients should properly dispose of them afterward as soon as possible. Prescription drug abuse is an increasing problemthat endangers the public health and safety. This isnot about taking the wrong dose of medicine bymistake. This is about some patients purposely abus-ing prescription controlled substances, either theirown or someone else’s, for non-medical purposes. The federal Drug Abuse Warning Network(DAWN), which monitors drug-related emergencydepartment (ED) visits nationwide, recentlyreported that the two most frequently mentionedprescription medications in drug abuse-relatedcases are benzodiazepines and opiates. In 2004 (the most recent year for which completeinformation is available), benzodiazepines accountedfor over 140,000 ED visits categorized as drug abuse-related cases. During the same period, abuse of theopiates methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodonecombined for more than 110,000 ED visits. DAWN statistics also show that emergencyroom visits due to abuse of prescription drugs are more than the number of visits due to abuseof marijuana and heroin combined.Non-Medical Use of Rx Drugs a Growing Health CrisisP R E S C R I P T I O N D R U G A B U S E A L E R T• 1.5 million American kids have reported thatthey’ve abused prescription drugs.• 2.1 million American kids have intentionallyabused cough syrup. Every day 2,700 teens try aprescription medicine to get high for the first time.• Half of teens do not see a great risk in abusingprescription (Rx) or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Teens believe that abuse of Rx and OTCmedicines is safer than street drugs. Such drugsare easily accessible from home medicinecabinets and over the Internet.• Over half of teens agree prescription drugs areeasier to get than illegal drugs.• 1 in 3 teens report having a close friend whoabuses Rx pain relievers to get high.• 1 in 4 teens report having a close friend whoabuses cough medicine to get high.• Only 31% of teens “learn a lot about the risk of drugs” from their parents.TEEN Rx DRUG ABUSE FACTS
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• Narcotics. Also known as opiates. Prescribed to relieve pain. Examples include morphine(liquid Roxanol, MS Contin), oxycodone(Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin), hydrocodone(Vicodin, Lortab, Norco), methadone, fentanyl(Duragesic patch, Actiq lozenge) andhydromorphone (Dilaudid).• Depressants. Prescribed to treat anxiety,seizures and sleep disorders. Includesbarbiturates and benzodiazepines. Examplesare pentobarbital (Nembutal), diazepam(Valium), and alprazolam (Xanax).• Stimulants. Prescribed to treat attention-deficit disorder (AD/HD). Examples includemethylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta) andamphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall). • Anabolic Steroids. Prescribed to treat hormone deficiency in males and breast cancerin females. Examples include testosterone(Androgel, Androderm patch, Depo-testosterone,and Delatestryl injection), and stanazolol(Winstrol).10209/06Practitioners must employ adequate safeguards and security measures to protect their official New York State prescriptions against theft, loss, or unauthorized use. You also must notify the Bureau of NarcoticEnforcement of any loss, theft, or unauthorized use. Any controlledsubstances maintained for office use must also be properly secured and appropriate records kept of their receipt and administration.Practitioners should also take precautions to protect them-selves against “doctor shopping,” a major source of drug diversion and abuse whereby drug-seeking individuals illegally obtain controlled substances from multiple practitioners without their knowledge for addiction and trafficking. Under the new law expanding New York’s Official Prescription Program, the Department of Health will notify practitioners when an analysis of prescription data indicates that a patient is receiving controlled substances from multiple practitioners. The notification will contain information for arranging rehabilitation treatment, if necessary. Similar notifications in other states enjoy overwhelming support from their medical communities and have reduced “doctor shopping” by up to 65%, allowing practitioners to devote their time to legitimate patient care. COMMONLY-ABUSED PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONNew York State Department of HealthProtect Your Practice Against Drug-SeekersPartnership for a Drug-Free Americawww.drugfree.orgSubstance Abuse & Mental Health Serviceswww.samhsa.govNational Institute on Drug Abusewww.drugabuse.govFOR MORE INFORMATION ON PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE, GO TO:

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