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Idaho Has Rise In Youth Opiate Abuse

In Blaine County Idaho, professionals are seeing a drastic jump in prescription drug abuse among their youth, particularly with opiates. Alcohol use in Blaine County’s youth is down and marijuana use has stayed more or less the same. Prescription pill abuse, however, has increased across the county, a recent report indicates.

According to a statewide survey conducted in the spring of 2014 that asked 1000 Blaine County sixth, eighth, tenth and twelfth graders about their experiences with prescription pills and using them for reasons other than their intended purpose. The numbers shocked many in the healthcare profession. There has been a significant jump since the last survey was conducted in 2012 when that survey showed that less than 10 percent of high school sophomores and seniors had used prescription pills that were not prescribed to them. Two years later and those numbers are much highers said Michael David, executive director of the Blaine County Community Drug Coalition.

“Youth are showing up at the [emergency room] with prescription drugs in their system that were not prescribed to them,” an informational sheet from the Drug Coalition states. According to the most recent survey 23 percent of tenth graders and 30 percent of twelfth graders used prescription medications that were not prescribed to them at some point in their lives. Most of the prescription medications that were abused were opiates and stimulants. The survey shows that approximately 50 percent of Blaine County 12th graders reported that it was not difficult to obtain both painkillers and stimulants. These drugs are everywhere and very easily found.

Peer pressure and the fact that many of the prescription pills that are abused are taken from their own homes, usually from the medicine cabinet where parents do not keep track of their medications or old medications were never discarded of properly. It is extremely important for parents to be vigilant with their medications. These drugs need to be treated like poison and locked in a safe where they are unable to be taken by anyone other than the person they are prescribed to. Parents may think that their children would never take their medications but peer pressure is a very powerful thing and leads many kids to do things that they normally wouldn't have.

Schools are now teaching their students about the dangers of prescription pills. This is desperately needed because most students look at these drugs as harmless because they are already in their homes and their parents have taken them. Town Hall meetings have become very popular in areas of high usage to educate and inform parents of things they can do to protect their children from this epidemic. If you have prescription medication in your home, please keep them locked away.

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