A well-known and disheartening fact is the issue of teenage drug abuse. This issue spans across many different areas of substance abuse. Many are aware of the typical marijuana and alcohol abuse, but you might be shocked to know that the 2012 Missouri Student Survey reported over 11.1 percent of Missouri teens using prescription drugs for recreational reasons. The most commonly used drugs are substances such as Xanax, OxyContin and Vicodin.
Extreme danger lies when these substances are mixed together. When taken together, the effects from the drugs are crossed and overdose risk increases, which may result in brain and/or respiratory failure.
The problem with combating this form of substance abuse is that when caught with medication, it is easy to just say it belongs to a family member and you are just transporting it for them. To some extent this is actually true. Many teens who abuse these drugs obtain them from their parents or grandparents medicine cabinets. Other places teens might get their hands on the medication are: from friends, the trash can, or even the pharmacy. You may be wondering, “How do they get the medication from the pharmacy?” The answer lies in the fact that Missouri is the only state not to have a prescription drug monitoring law.
It makes virtually no sense why Missouri is the only state not to have this legislature. What this law would do if passed is allow medical professionals to keep an accurate record of what and how much prescription medication is taken out from the pharmacy to a single individual. Lee’s Summit CARES intern Emily Benigar, shared in an article, “Missouri has the seventh highest drug overdose death rate in the country, a majority of which are from prescription drugs. Without a prescription drug monitoring program in our state, this drug abuse trend will continue to grow.”
This dilemma in Missouri must be solved to protect the lives of its citizens. We can make this happen by pushing for a prescription drug monitoring law and getting it passed through Missouri legislature.
Lee’s Summit North High School senior