Healthcare Providers Can Help Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

Healthcare Providers can help Reduce Drug Abuse-01Article Provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

During the last decade Kansas has seen an increase in prescription drug abuse and misuse with poisoning death rates up 120% and hospital discharges of people abusing or misusing prescription drugs up 75%.

The KDHE Poisoning in Kansas report from November 2012, using data from ED visits covering 2007-2009, Hospital Discharges from 2005-2009 and Death certificates from 2000-2010, demonstrates an increasing concern regarding prescription drugs and poisonings.

The majority of poisoning emergency department visits (63%) were unintentional or accidental poisoning. More than half of hospital discharges from poisoning were suicide attempts (57%) and most poisoning deaths were unintentional or accidental (69%).

Most poisonings were drug related regardless of the database studied and 71% of all poisoning ED visits, 93% of all poisoning hospital discharges, and 86% of poisoning deaths were related to prescription drugs. Unintentional poisoning emergency department visits were extremely high for children 4 years and younger and the poisoning death rate was highest in those between 45 and 54 years old.

Everyone plays a role in decreasing the injury and death rates associated with prescription drug abuse/misuse, from providers to consumers. KDHE asks providers to carefully consider the appropriate use, amount, patient education and monitoring of prescription drugs. Sign up and utilize the Prescription Monitoring Program – K-Tracs at

Consumers should look for safe and effective options for treating pain besides opiates (narcotic) and properly dispose of unused medications when acute treatment is no longer needed. If you are prescribed opiates (narcotics) for long-term purposes, you should establish a single provider and pharmacy to help manage your treatment and comply with their treatment recommendations.

Consumers should also discuss their medications with their provider and pharmacist and avoid other drugs and alcohol that can increase the risk of harm while on prescription medications. Please keep all medications properly stored and secured to prevent accidental ingestion by young children and keep the Poison Control Hotline number posted on your refrigerator or near your phone. Ideally, program it into your cell phone as you may not always be at home when you need it.

See if your pharmacy participates in a drug disposal program as many work with the Kansas Board of Pharmacy and KDHE’s Bureau of Waste Management to provide a Drug Disposal Program in your community. They cannot take back opiate (narcotic) medications so note when the national Drug Take-back program occurs and local law enforcement in conjunction with others in your community provide a safe alternative for you to dispose of controlled medications. Never dispose of your medications down the drain. Together we can reduce this public health threat to our healthy communities.

For more information please visit:

The full Poisoning in Kansas report can be found at:

Information about the Drug Disposal Program can be found at:
or on the Kansas Board of Pharmacy Website:

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