New war on drugs in the medicine cabinet

June 17, 2011 at 7:41 PM
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ALBANY, N.Y., June 17 (UPI) -- There is a new war on drugs, and the battle is not on shady street corners, but in the medicine cabinet, the U.S. attorney in Albany, N.Y., said.

Richard Hartunian, the U.S. attorney for the northern district of New York, told the State Police Academy at a prescription drug summit for law enforcement and state public health officials in Albany that 52 million Americans older than age 12 have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, the Albany Times Union reported.

One in five high school students say they have used prescription drugs for recreational purposes and there has been a 400 percent increase in hospital admittance rates for prescription drug abuse, Hartunian said.

From 1999 to 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were more lethal overdoses from prescription drugs than heroin and cocaine combined, Hartunian said.

Hartunian said parents have to be the cops on the beat in this war on drugs by ensuring any prescriptions in their home are used correctly and only by the person for which they are prescribed. They also must see to it that older over-the-counter and prescriptions are disposed of properly and that they talk to their children about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs, he said.

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