New billboards fight Rx drug abuse

Indianapolis

The Indiana Attorney General’s office has launched a new campaign against prescription drug abuse that includes 10 new billboards across the state.
 
The billboards are going up this week and read, “Every 25 minutes someone dies from prescription drug overdose in the U.S.”

The action comes after Attorney General Greg Zoeller created the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force. According to a news release, the task force will focus on education, treatment and recovery, prescription drug monitoring, prescription disposal and take-back and enforcement. The full task force will publish a report of its findings and recommendations.

“Prescription drug overdoses and the non-prescription use of medication is an epidemic that continues to have a stronghold in our communities,” Zoeller said. “It’s critical everyone work together to break away from this trend.

"I believe any solutions will require a comprehensive approach that includes education, training, treatment, tracking and enforcement. That’s why the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force will aim to address these critical areas with the goal of saving Hoosier lives and families.”

According to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), 654 Hoosier lives were lost to drug overdoses during 2010.
 
Dr. Dick Huber knows what prescription drug abuse can do. He said his 35-year-old son, Kyle, died about six months ago from abusing prescription drugs. He said Kyle used all sorts of drugs, but his interest in prescription medication started at a young age.

"I kept some prescription drugs in the office... and I was missing some of the drugs... this is probably when he was 13 years old," he explained. "As a parent, to me one of the worst things that can happen is losing a child."

Now Huber, a retired doctor, talks to kids about drugs and choices in an effort to keep them away from the choices his own son made. He said Indiana ranks second in the number of high school students on prescription medications without a doctor's order and that Kyle was just part of a rapidly growing epidemic.

"We really are a drug society. We take drugs and medications for everything. Can't go to sleep at night, take something. Can't wake up in the morning, take something," he said.
 
The Attorney General's office also wants to remind people that this Saturday, Hoosiers can turn-in their unwanted prescriptions during the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. For more information, visit: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.

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