The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which was released last week, showed that prescription drug abuse has declined across the United States. A large part of this can be credited to young Americans.
According to the survey, the number of people age 18 to 25 who regularly abuse prescription drugs fell 14 percent, and in 2011, the lowest number of young adults surveyed in a decade (3.6 percent) indicated that they abused pain relievers. This is a victory, but a small victory. The survey also showed that 1.7 million young adults continue to abuse prescription drugs. In addition, 21.4 percent of young adults and 8.7 percent of all Americans use illicit drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants. The total number of people addicted to pain pills grew from 936,000 to 1.4 million in the last 10 years. Around one-third of the addicts are 18 to 25.
This weekend, Cassville Community 2000, Cassville High School SADD (Students against Destructive Decisions) and the Cassville Police Department held one of their bi-annual prescription drug take-back events at the Cassville City Hall. Over 75 pounds of prescription medications were collected during the event. Prescription take-back events give area community members an opportunity to help keep unused and expired prescription drugs out of the hands of teens, young adults and others who might be tempted to abuse the medications. Another great step, but can't we do more?
In recent years, participation in Cassville Community 2000, the local group committed to reducing drug abuse among all area residents, but most specifically teens and children, has dropped significantly. The organization is also operating without funding from a major grant, which limits financial resources for outreach programs. After reviewing the numbers from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it is easy to see why several dedicated community members are committed to continuing the mission of Cassville Community 2000 in the face of adversity.
If you are stunned or frightened by the statistics released in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, consider getting involved with Cassville Community 2000. If your free time is full, consider making a donation to the local organization. In the past, funds have been used to provide drug abuse prevention education at the Cassville and Shell Knob school districts, conduct outreach efforts at athletic events and help support SADD activities, training and events.
For more information on Cassville Community 2000, call Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr, who also serves as chair of the Cassville Community 2000 organization, at 847-4700, extension 20.