National Prevention Week: Prescription drug abuse
National Prevention Week from May 12-18 is an annual health observance lead by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and supported locally by the Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership.
The observance is dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues.
Today's theme: Prevention of prescription drug abuse and illicit drug use.
The issue: Illicit drug use and misuse of prescription medications are widespread problems in the United States, particularly in Appalachia. Drug use is dangerous because it can lead to addiction, reduced self-control and impaired decision-making, serious physical conditions and affect the brain, according to various studies.
Fact: Of the 8 million people in the U.S. who use drugs other than marijuana, the majority were nonmedical users of prescription medications, including 4.5 million users of pain relievers, according to SAMHSA.
Prevention tip: SAMHSA recommends that parents get involved in their children's day-to-day activities and discuss the risks of using illicit and prescription drugs. All people should securely store prescription drugs and dispose of unused supplies, either at a scheduled take back day or a secure drop off box. The front lobby of the Huntington Police Department at 675 10th St. has a drop-off box, as do police departments in Ironton, Ohio, and Ashland, Ky.