As a pharmacy student, I was very excited to read the May 9 article "New State Program a Good Rx to Get Rid of Old Pills." It is great that Pennsylvania is getting involved in the fight against prescription drug abuse by implementing a medication cleanup day. This truly demonstrates the idea that the problem is not only present on the streets, but in our own medicine cabinets as well.
The rise of prescription drug abuse has made it clear that this issue does not get enough attention. Abuse of prescription drugs now exceeds the use of all other street drugs combined, with the exception of marijuana. There seems to be this idea that prescription medications are safer than street drugs and can therefore be shared without consequence, when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. There is a reason for the prescription; serious consequences can occur when medications are used incorrectly. Unintentional drug poisoning has become the second-leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
Part of the problem is the accessibility of these drugs. They are reported as being easier to obtain than illegal drugs, therefore adding to their appeal. Safe storage of prescription medications and proper disposal, such as the medication cleanup day program, could greatly reduce prescription drug abuse and prescription drug addiction as well. It is great to see Pittsburgh being a model for this behavior and doing its part to educate others on the importance of this issue.
The writer is formerly of Cranberry.