Growing prescription drug abuse is concerning locals - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Growing prescription drug abuse is concerning locals

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Drug abuse in Indiana is growing rapidly. A study released by the Trust for America's Health found Indiana had the country's 17th highest rate of drug overdose, a number that quadrupled over the last 10 years. A majority of those overdoses are from prescription drugs, which has Michiana concerned.

South Bend Police Department Captain Phil Trent says the drug problem is growing in the area, especially among kids. "The thought of having 13, 14, 15 year old drug users was just not in anybody's mind 10 to 15 years ago."

And the drug that's getting them hooked? "We're seeing the gateway drug being prescription medication obviously not prescribed to them, but they're getting their hands on prescription medication like they never did before and when they run out of that they have to find some sort of analog."

He says prescription medication is easier than ever to find. "Prescription drugs, that's something practically every adult comes into contact with throughout the year."

And Trent admits it's a problem that law enforcement can't do much about. "We deal with the aftereffects, just like the doctors and hospitals deal with the aftereffects, but there's not a lot they can do when it's starting behind closed doors at home."

That's where pharmacist like Marc Merrill comes in. "We're very careful to make sure that the person who is to get the medicine, receives it."

But he says 90% of young people who are abusing prescription medications find them in their parent's cabinet. "It's vital that you make sure you have your medicine either locked up or put in a safe place."

He says it's discouraging to see these drugs abused. "We want to make sure the people have proper pain relief and have access to the medicine, but we want to make sure too that they don't get in the wrong hands."

And Merrill says this is a preventable problem. "It starts right at home and parents need to be taking a big part in seeing that this is stopped."

Both say the abuse of prescription drugs wouldn't be a problem, if it wasn't so accessible. That's why it's important to discard of any prescription drug you have once you're no longer using it. Many pharmacies and police stations have pill drop offs.

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