Health & Safety

April 5, 2013

The dangers and consequences of prescription drug abuse

Prescription drug abuse has become the number one drug problem among young Americans.

Nearly seven million Americans are abusing prescription drugs—more than the number who are abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy, and inhalants, combined.

Narcotic pain-relief prescriptions for injured United States troops have jumped from 30,000 a month to 50,000 since the Iraq war began, raising concerns for the drugs’ potential abuse and addiction.

Army Drug Testing will identify the presence of a drug in your system. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to ensure your prescription is current while taking medication or you can be charged with drug use.

In ALARACT 062/2011, MEDCOM Regulation 40-51 has been revised limiting the duration of authorized use of controlled substance prescriptions. Prescriptions for controlled substances (schedules II-V) will have an authorized use of six months from date of dispensing. Medical providers will prescribe only the minimum quantity of controlled substances necessary to treat an acute illness or injury. Quantities of controlled substances used to treat acute conditions will not exceed a 30-day supply. Providers will routinely assess the patient for medication effectiveness and adverse events. Providers using controlled substance medications to treat chronic conditions may prescribe a 30-day supply of medication with up to five refills. Providers should schedule frequent, brief clinical visits with the patient to assess medication compliance, patient behaviors, the potential for over-medication, and drug diversion or abuse. Soldiers will understand that controlled substance prescriptions will have an expiration date and that a positive urinalysis after the prescription expiration date will result in a “No Legitimate use finding.” This can and will be detrimental to your career.

Illegal situations:

• Possession/use of medication without a prescription

• Giving prescription to another individual regardless of their apparent need

• The illegal use of prescription drugs or any drug goes against Army Values and Warrior Pride

Most commonly abused prescription drugs

• Opioids, prescribed to treat pain

• Central nervous system depressants, prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders

• Stimulants, prescribed to treat sleep disorders and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Warning signs of prescription drug abuse

• Constantly “losing” prescriptions, so more prescriptions must be written

• Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor

• Taking higher doses despite warnings

• Stealing, forging, or selling prescriptions

• Excessive mood swings

Helpful tips

• Always follow medication directions

• Do not increase or decrease doses without talking with your doctor.

• Do not stop taking medication on your own.

• Do not crush or break pills unless directed by a physician.

• Understand the drug’s effects on driving and other daily tasks.

• Learn about the drug’s potential interactions with alcohol, other prescription medicines, and over-the-counter medicines.

• Inform your doctor about any past history of substance abuse.

• Do not use other people’s prescriptions and do not share yours.

If you require additional information about drug abuse, contact ASAP in building 573 on the corner of 3rd Street and South Loop Road or call 380-4074/4153 or visit the Army Center for Substance Abuse Programs website at www.acsap.army.mil.

The Fort Irwin Army Substance Abuse Program is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Directorate of Emergency Services, here, to hold National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Army Field parking lot and the Dr. Mary E. Walker Center.

We will accept controlled, non-controlled and over the counter substances, including: solid dosage, pharmaceutical products and liquids in consumer containers. We will also accept liquid products such as cough syrup, which should remain sealed in its original container.

We will not accept intravenous solutions, injectables, or syringes due to potential hazards posed by blood-borne pathogens. Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamines are not part of this initiative and should not be placed in collection containers. If an individual attempts to surrender an illicit controlled substance, law enforcement personnel should handle such material as abandoned property.

This program is free and anonymous. All efforts will be made to protect the anonymity of individuals disposing of medications. There will be no questions and no requests for identification will be made.

If you have questions or concerns contact ASAP at 380-4153.




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