What the District could do to help curb prescription-drug abuse

Opinion by Oye I. Owolewa

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,young adults (18 to 25 years old) are America’s most common abusers of prescription drugs — most notably opioid pain relievers, stimulants meant to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and anti-anxiety medications. In 2014, 1,741 young adults died from prescription drug overdoses, up 316 percent from 1999.


Currently, there is no safe and convenient way to discard medications in the District. Environmentalists discourage patients from pouring medications down the drain or throwing them in the trash because these actions can contaminate water sources. As a pharmacist, I’m constantly asked about the proper way to dispose of medications. A daily prescription return system can help reduce a heavy burden on our community and free up resources for other responsibilities. We must do our part to reduce addiction and save lives. Let’s push for a daily prescription drug return system in the District.



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