Many consumers believe that controlled substances are safe because they are prescribed by doctors rather than sold by drug dealers on the streets. Unfortunately, prescription painkillers can be highly addictive. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every day, 44 people in the United States die from overdose of prescription painkillers while many more become addicted. The most common drugs involved in prescription overdose deaths include:
Additionally, prescription painkiller overdose deaths often involve benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants used as sedatives, to induce sleep, prevent seizures, and relieve anxiety. Examples include alprazolam (Xanax®), diazepam (Valium®), and lorazepam (Ativan®).
Reducing the supply of unwanted prescription drugs is critical, as the Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that nearly one-third of children 12 and over who use drugs for the first time, begin with a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose.
In November 2015, our office released a handout that educates consumers as to the proper storage and disposal of prescription medication:
If you know of anyone who may be inappropriately prescribing or distributing prescription drugs, you can confidentially report this information to your local West Virginia State Police detachment or local county sheriff's office. Your call may save a life.
West Virginia State Police
County Sheriffs' Offices
Medications can pose a risk for abuse or accidental poisoning. Remember to call 911 immediately, and keep the American Association for Poison Control Center Hotline number near every telephone.
American Association for Poison Control Center Hotline: 1-800-222-1222