5% of Colorado's population abuses Rx painkillers

DENVER – A recently released survey focusing on drug use in Colorado shows roughly 5 percent of our state's population is abusing prescription painkillers.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health consists of data from 2012 to 2013. It shows 68 percent of individuals 12 and older got a hold of painkillers for non-medical use from either their relative's or friend's medicine cabinets.

"So they're either taking it from their own medicine cabinet or they're taking it from a friend's medicine cabinet - or they're just getting it from a friend or family," Laurie Lovedale with Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program with Peer Assistance Services said.

Lovedale says the age group abusing prescription drugs the most is 18- to 25-year-olds. Recently, we met a woman who dealt with a 17-year-old neighbor who she says stole her oxycodone.

"I didn't count them exactly. I knew there wasn't enough. Bottle was looking like someone removed some," the woman said.

"I think that's the thing that amazes me is how many people just say yes this has happened to them or is currently happening to them," Lovedale added.

To combat this problem, Lovedale says there are three helpful tips you can follow:

  1. Monitor your medications
  2. Know how many pills you have
  3. Lock up your medication

"I hear a lot that 'my kid would never do that or anyone living in my home would ever do that' but we need to understand this does happen and it happens more than we know," Lovedale said.

For additional statistics from the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program, follow this link: http://peerassistanceservices.org/programs/prescription-drug-abuse-prevention/

(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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