As part of his campaign to make Colorado residents the healthiest in the nation, Gov. John Hickenlooper has launched a PR campaign about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. “This campaign is just one part of a coordinated, statewide strategy that simultaneously restricts access to prescription drugs for illicit use, while ensuring access for those who legitimately need them,” the governor said.
As we noted in a recent blog post, prescription drug abuse can result in not only health problems but legal problems as well. It is against the law to drive while impaired, even if the impairment is caused by a prescription medication properly used for a legitimate reason.
Those arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) face the possibility of jail time, significant fines, probation and more.
On the new TakeMedsSeriously.org website, the state points out that one quarter of Colorado residents admit to “pain relief medications in a way not prescribed” by their physician. And 29 percent of Coloradans acknowledge that they have used prescriptions that were prescribed for someone else.
One of out of 6 high school seniors has taken a prescription drug without a prescription, and the state says teens believe the prescriptions are safer to take than street drugs because they were prescribed by a doctor.
Perhaps most disturbing is the revelation that many teens responding to a state survey said the prescription drugs are easier to get than beer, because they are stored in the family medicine cabinet and the drugs can also be obtained from friends.