Misuse of prescription painkillers a problem here
The prevention program Dose of Reality has been launched in Sheboygan County and Wisconsin.
Dose of Reality is an awareness campaign designed toeducatethecommunity and communicate that prescription painkillers that contain opioids can be highly addictive and deadly. The prevention initiative raises awareness and community members are taking action to ignite change by talking about the issue.
Deaths from prescription painkillers have increased by 38 percent in Wisconsin. Anyone can be at risk of becoming addicted, especially young people ages 12-25 years. Certain strategies, like preventing people from being exposed to heroin and nonmedical use of prescription opioids, could decrease the opioid overdose epidemic we are experiencing. Four out of five current heroin users reported using nonmedical prescription opioids before starting heroin.
You may see print ads, bus signs, billboards and TV commercials or radio spots as public service announcements. Healthy Sheboygan County supports these efforts and has action plans to help fight this statewide overdose and heroin epidemic.
The misuse of prescription drugs is a serious problem in the US and our local area. It has escalated in recent years to the level of a public health crisis. Misuse includes using a medication in ways or amounts other than intended by a doctor, by someone other for whom it is prescribed or for the experience or feeling it causes. More than 70 percent of people abusing prescription painkillers get them through friends or relatives. An estimated 52 million people have misused prescriptiondrugsat least once in their lifetime and teenagers are strongly represented in this estimate. Two million people have reported abuse or nonmedical use of pain relievers in the past year according to a recent survey.
According to NIDA’s annual survey, about one in 12 high school seniors reported abuse of Vicodin in the past year and one in 20 reported abusing Oxycontin. These drugs are very addictive and are synthetic heroin. Using them, or misusing them, can lead to the use of actual heroin and possible addiction. It has been reported that heroin is now cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription pain pills and this has contributed to the current problem.
Working together we can prevent prescription painkiller abuse in Wisconsin. Learn more at DoseOfRealityWI.gov and find out how to support these prevention efforts.
Mental Health America and Healthy Sheboygan County 2020 will have a community resource fair from 4:30-7 p.m. on May 3 at RCS Empowers on Geele Avenue. Please join us.
Healthy Sheboygan County 2020 believes that by educating our community and working together we can prevent prescription painkiller abuse in Wisconsin, encouraging our next generation to be drug-free.
For other prevention materials visit www.cdc .gov. For more on local drug abuse prevention efforts visit www.healthy sheboygancounty.org. and like us on Facebook.
Elizabeth Abler, RN, is a Sheboygan County public health nurse and member of Mental Health/Substance Abuse HSC2020.