Many people who watch TV have probably noticed public service announcements regarding the abuse of prescription medicines.
One announcement shows a teenage boy in a school lunchroom showing off his stash of prescription pills and listing what every one of them is actually used for. Another announcement shows a drug dealer who is basically claiming that parents shouldn't blame him anymore for their kids' problems. Blame the medicine cabinet, instead.
Nationwide, prescription drug abuse has risen. Locally, Thayer Police Chief David Bailey has noticed the rise in prescription drug abuse and said he wants to make residents aware of the dangers of certain prescription drugs and safeguarding prescriptions against thieves who might want to misuse or sell them.
"It's not that there's several (cases involving prescription medicines), but it seems like there's more (cases) involving those types of prescription drugs," Bailey said.
He said, currently, hydrocodone seems to be the most popular prescription drug abused. However, other prescription medicines, such as, prescriptions used as pain killers, anti-depressants and sleeping pills are being abused.
Bailey said there are various ways people can get their hands on prescription pills. They can be stolen from someone who has a legitimate prescription for them, bought from someone else or the person is hooked on a prescription they had and can't get off them.
He said it is hard to tell where people are getting the drugs from. "They're either buying them (prescription pills) illegally or stealing them," Bailey said.
Apparently, there seems to be no problems with local doctors over prescribing. "Most of the doctors have been pretty cooperative," Bailey said. "They have been really strict on their pill counts with people and contracts that they have their clients sign and drug screening."
He said there hasn't been any problems with area pharmacists either.
"I think that it's just that there's a lot of people who are probably misquoting their symptoms in order to get some of these prescriptions. Overall, I think the doctors have been doing their role," Bailey said.
Prescription drug abuse is difficult to enforce, Bailey said, because pills are easy to hide and usually happens behind closed doors where police do not have jurisdiction.
Bailey said he wants to alert those who have legitimate prescriptions for these drugs to keep them safe and locked up. "People who have valid symptoms or problems and are on these strong medications need to really watch their medication and keep an accurate count of what they are using so that they are totally in control of it and not make it easy for people to steal it," Bailey said.
He advises against leaving medications in vehicles or in purses inside vehicles because it could tempt abusers to break into the vehicle and steal not only the medications but any other valuables.