Our View: Prescribe fewer painkillers

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:45 AM

Editorial Board

The abuse of prescription drugs continues to get worse. The abuse of painkillers makes users of those “living next door to you and me,” says Deputy Davis County Attorney Rick Westmoreland. Recently, in Davis County the narcotics strike force arrested two women on suspicion of forging prescriptions. They allegedly used their medical knowledge to get the illegal drugs.

A substantial portion of those who get hooked on illegal prescription drugs began getting the drugs legally for a proper reason, prescribed by a doctor. Given that so many get the drugs, get addicted to their effects, and continue to seek the drug illegally later, it’s appropriate to make sure that some doctors are not over-prescribing prescription painkillers. Medical professionals who prescribe painkillers too freely need to be reined in. Doctors and other medical professionals need to exercise discipline. These drugs are too dangerous, and deadly.

The death toll of persons who abuse prescription drugs is staggering. Even in Utah, a state that ranks low compared to the rest of the U.S. in prescription drug abuse, more persons die as a result of abusing prescription drugs than die in automobile accidents. In 2010, 278 deaths in Utah were caused by prescription drugs, compared to 207 who died in automobile accidents.

Those who abuse prescription drugs are our siblings, parents, children and friends. There is no exclusive type of individual who fits the abuser profile. In most cases, it’s a secret crime, unknown to or only suspected by loved ones. We urge those addicted to get help. Those who love abusers need to get them help. Don’t be an enabler. The website www.useonlyasdirected.org can help.

All the police stations in the Top of Utah, except Clearfield, have drop off boxes for old prescription drugs that have either expired or are otherwise not needed.

Frankly, there needs to be a more disciplined prescription system for these dangerous drugs. If that occurs, perhaps one day drop off boxes will not be needed. But that has not happened, so get rid of the drugs.

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