21 July 2010

Prescription Drug Abuse a Growing Problem in State

UP Source
A new government study finds that in the past ten or so years, there has been a 400% increase in the number of people admitted to treatment for abusing prescription pain medication

MARQUETTE -- It's the nation's fastest-growing drug problem, and to become addicted, you don't even have to leave your house.

Prescription drug abuse is now the second-most prevalent form of illicut drug abuse in the country, and here in the U.P., the problem is growing.

All you have to do is turn on the television to see ad after ad of various prescription medications.

"Society has a very cavalier attitude about taking medications," says Great Lakes Recovery Center Primary Counselor Christine Swanson.

The GLRC in Marquette has seen a significant increase in the amount of prescription drug abuse clients, even surpassing the number of alcoholism clients.

Medications manager Cathy Warren says it's important to remember that not every prescription drug abuser is a criminal.

"Unfortunately some of our clients do come by their addictions honestly, they've either had some type of accident or injury and they are in pain," Warren says.

But there are those abusers who have had their run-ins with the law.

The majority of breaking and entering offenders, the most common offense related to prescription drug abuse, are between the ages of 17 and 25.

"Certainly we see them with a great deal more frequency now than we used to," says Marquette County Prosecutor Gary Walker.

Either way, the possession of narcotics without a proper prescription is a crime.

Counselors at the GLRC help clients to see that there are alternatives.

"They come into Michigan drug rehab with generations of alcoholism, drug addiction, legal problems, and to tell them that there is a different way to live, they know that someplace, in a small place in their mind, but they don't understand how to get there," Swanson says.

So what's the solution?

Warren advises, "Try to go around the addictive medications, or at least educate the clients about the dangers of the medication."

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