Prescription Drug Abuse & Misuse

In the mid 2000’s the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began warning the public of the problem of prescription drug related deaths. Declaring an epidemic in 2010, the CDC has stated that accidental deaths due to prescription drug abuse have now surpassed the annual number of automobile related fatalities in many communities across the U.S.

“Prescription overdoses are epidemic in the U.S.,” says Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC. Most people who die from prescription drug overdose are taking someone else’s medicines, he says. “Medicines that were left in the medicine cabinet. Medicines that were given to a friend or a relative. Maybe innocently, maybe maliciously.”

While over-the-counter or prescription medications can be hazardous to your health if taken incorrectly, controlled substances are considered at higher risk for abuse than other drugs. The manufacture, importation and, possession of medications listed as controlled are highly regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration per the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.

Youth Access

Youth also use prescription medications for unintended purposes such as recreational and school performance enhancement. Youth can get medications by stealing or buying them; however, many youth are also given these medications by family members who are unaware of the associated health risks and regularly share medications.

Actively Addressing

Public Health - Muskegon County and community collaborative partners are actively addressing prescription drug misuse and abuse in the county by working to:

  • Improve prescribing and dispensing practices
  • Assure the wide spread practice of “no wrong door” referral systems
  • Assure access to treatment
  • Assure enhanced primary prevention and intervention best practices are in use
  • Increase surveillance and assure a well-connected
  • Increase surveillance and assure a well-connected system that encourages empathic and treatment focused services
  • Provide critical harm reduction services in an effort to reduce related injury and death

Report Abuse

If you know someone that is abusing prescription drugs or if you think you may have a problem yourself call the HealthWest access line at 231-720-3200. Pregnant women are given priority status.

Community Fight Against Abuse & Addiction

Want to become involved in community activities to fight substance abuse and addiction? Call Substance Abuse Prevention at 231-724-6350 or email Health Education for more information on how you can help.

Community Treatment Resource List 

(Updated at least annually.)

Additional Useful Information