Thursday, October 25, 2007

Georgia newspaper's series highlights prescription drug abuse, a rural scourge

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in Georgia is running an impressive series on the issue of prescription drug abuse, a scourge in many parts of rural America. It ranges from additiction to teenagers (illustrated by the photo of a "trail mix" party bowl of drugs) to that of pharmacists and physicians.

The 44,000-circulation daily began the series on Sunday with a story called "Shackled" that offers both local and national perspective. Reporters Larry Geirer and Brad Barnes write that three in 100 Americans are addicted to prescription drugs and that "48 million people in the United States -- some 20 percent of the population -- have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse." This well-reported story goes on to explore responses to the issue in Columbus and elsewhere.

In an accompanying story, Gierer writes that the addiction is a problem among those who prescribe the drugs: "The American Medical Association estimates that 10-15 percent of doctors and pharmacists suffer from prescription drug addiction. By comparison, less than 5 percent of U.S. residents use a painkiller nonmedically in a year, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration."

In another story, Gierer examines drug abuse by teenagers, some of whom throw "trail mix parties" during which they dump pills into bowls and then take whatever they fish out. The series is definitely worth a look, because it is a great example of blending statistics with anecdotal examples.


Megan Bedford said...

I have heard of the mixing of prescription drugs, referred to as "Pharm Parties". Young adults don't know how dangerous this can be. They aren't even sure of what they are taking most of the time. There were more youth that tried prescription drugs last year than there were that tried pot. The numbers are growing. We need to educate our youth on the harmful affects that these drugs can have on our lives. I work at a rehab and we educate over 60,000 kids every year on drugs and alcohol. To find out what you can do check out our website at StopAddiction

Kim said...

People do not realize how dangerious prescription drugs can be. Drug and Alcohol abuse is not the only drug abuse that exist.

Kim Ellington
Suffering from an addiction. This website has a lot of great resources and treatment centers.