The statistics from the National Institute of Health are telling:
One out of every 20 high school students nationwide has used OxyContin recreationally.
For Vicodin, it’s one in 12.
And with more than 200 million prescriptions for painkillers like those as of 2010, and 45 million prescriptions for stimulants like Adderall, prescription medications are far more available than they were 20 years ago.
So to help educate parents and students locally, West Deptford police and schools have teamed up to put together a presentation next week on what to look out for when it comes to prescription drug abuse, as well as its effects on families.
As West Deptford police Chief Craig Mangano pointed out, parents aren’t always familiar with the signs of abuse—or even what prescription medications might be ripe for abuse, given how much is out there.
“They don’t know what to look for,” he said. “This is a way of raising awareness with parents, too.”
Mangano said the growing concern nationally over prescription drug abuse is something the department has wanted to address with the public, in the hopes that greater education can lead to prevention.
“It’s something that’s been in the works for a while now,” he said.
And since using prescription drugs doesn’t carry the same stigma as injecting heroin or doing other hard drugs, addiction can creep in and take a person over that line into hard drugs, Detective Cpl. Anna Connelly said.
“That’s how it’s really taken off the way it has,” she said.
The presentation will bring that home with a personal message that should resonate with people, Connelly said.
West Deptford Detective Sgt. Sean McKenna will lead the session, which starts at 7 p.m. on April 24 at the high school.