It Starts With You!

I am sure most of you have been out and about within the community and have seen the “Meet Montana’s New Drug Dealers, IT STARTS WITH YOU” Billboard, poster, or table tents? If not, please check out our website www.LivingATI.com and follow our blog to learn more.
Whenever you are dealing with a societal issue, there can be a lot of people who want to point fingers or pass the blame. Even worse, people may have obtained the “superman/superwoman” or the “not my problem or not my family member complex”! The fact is Each of us play a role in eliminating prescription drug abuse. Over the course of the next few weeks we will break down and discuss different scenarios and some suggested course of action.
This week, let’s discuss the role of the medical community. Did you know that over 80% of world wide prescriptions for narcotics are written in the U.S.? Why is the U.S. the highest in the Nation for prescription use? Did you also know that the U.S. is the only nation that allows medication advertisements? As a nation, we have policies that promote the advertisements and use of prescription drugs. Maybe not the best thing!
In part, the medical community is unwittingly fueling the prescription drug addiction crisis. However, this could be for a few reasons. 1. Most Doctors no longer monitor patients after surgery and send them home with large amounts of drugs. 2. Healthcare professionals are being “graded” on how they manage pain and meet and maintain patient satisfaction. You can find out more about Obama’s pay for performance policies that is somewhat holding medical institutions and doctors hostage at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/11/what-obamacares-pay-for-performance-programs-mean-for-health-care-quality 3. Doctors feel the need to meet the need and help the patient eliminate the problem. If a patient comes in for pain, then they have an oath to help diminish that pain.
Ultimately, we all play a role in being responsible with Prescription Drugs. Responsible prescribing, use, storage and disposal are key to making sure this problem does not fester into an even bigger societal issue.
Be Responsible Patient of Your Prescription Drugs!
• Know how many pills have been taken and keep addictive medications locked up.
• Use only what’s been prescribed to you, use what you need, and dispose of the rest.
• Realize that the narcotic will cause an emotional “addiction” or craving before the physical addiction.
• The emotional craving can come on very early, so be mindful of how addicting prescription drugs can be.
• Ask Your Doctor is there is a non-narcotic alternative medication that can be utilized
• Make sure no one but YOU has access to your medications.

Rx Prevention- It Starts with You!

Montana’s newest generation of drug dealers looks just like you and me. In fact, that’s exactly who they are.

After alcohol and marijuana, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substance by Americans 14 and up. If you think that you and your loved ones aren’t part of the problem, think again. Often, people steal pills from their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers without their knowledge or consent.

Take charge of your prescription drugs. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and the people you know.

  1. Arm yourself with the facts. One common misconception about prescription drugs is that they are safer than illegal substances. In a survey, 35 percent of teenagers reported that they abuse prescription drugs for this reason. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When prescription drugs are taken as directed, they are usually completely safe. When abused, they can have dangerous or even deadly side effects, especially combined with other substances like alcohol.
  2. Recognize that you and your loved ones could be part of the problem. Understand that while it’s not directly your fault, teens and adults in your life might be taking advantage of you and your prescription medication. Only 3.9 percent of abused prescription drugs are obtained from a dealer – 20 percent are obtained directly from a doctor and 70.8 percent from a friend or relative.
  3. Keep any prescription medication in a locked cabinet or bag. Peer pressure and curiosity can be powerful influences on children, so keep your medication locked up at all times. Even if you think your child wouldn’t abuse drugs, their friends or classmates might take advantage of your lax security. If your school-age child must take medication at school, make sure the meds are stored and administered by an adult. If you have to take your medications with you to work, keep them in a locked bag or pill case. Find out more about responsible medication storage at livingATI.com.
  4. Count your pills regularly. Pill counting is a good way to make sure no one is stealing any pills out of their bottles. When you fill the prescription, count the number of pills that you have and keep track of when you use them. If you take medication regularly, make a note of exactly when you’re due to run out.
  5. Don’t leave pills out where someone can take them. This seems obvious, but even if you live alone or without children, there is still a risk. Someone could see them through a window or a visiting child could pop one in their mouth.
  6. Don’t talk about or take your medication in front of others, especially children. If people know you have drugs they might try to take them from you. Additionally, many children like to imitate adults and will try to take pills so they can feel more grown up if they see you do. Have responsible conversations with your child about prescription drugs. Never allow your child to be responsible for their medications. Always keep them stored in a safe locked place.
  7. Dispose of unused medication responsibly. Don’t throw expired or unwanted prescription medication in the trash where a determined person can find it. Also, do not flush them down the toilet. This can contaminate our water supplies and soil with unwanted toxins. Take any unused medications to the official Rx local drop box. One is located at the Montana Highway Patrol Office, 812 14th St. North, Great Falls, Montana, behind Dante’s Restaurant. It’s open 24/7. Call 406 – 453-1121 for more information. Also, talk to your doctor or local pharmacist about how to get rid of your unused medication.

Help teens live above the influence of substance abuse. Visit http://www.livingATI.com for statistics on local trends, true stories, straight talk and tips on how to protect yourself, your family, and your friends from prescription drug abuse.

Red Ribbon Week Tuesday Reminder

Statistics show that more teens are killed by alcohol than by all illegal drugs combined! Each year, approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking including: 1,900 from car accidents, 1,600 from homicides, 300 by suicide, and hundreds of other deaths due to accidents like falls, burns and drownings. All caused by alcohol!

As we are giving attention this week towards supporting Drug Free Communities with National Red Ribbon Week, it is important that we are having responsible conversations with the youth in our life. We need to ensure that we are setting clear expectations around alcohol use. More importantly, sending the message that alcohol is appropriate for people to use responsibly over the age of 21.

To Learn more about how to have these conversations with a family member or friend visit http://www.Livingati.com   

Love Your Drug Free Lifestyle!

This week is national Red Ribbon Week! The theme is: “Love Your Drug Free Selfie”! Each day we’re asking you to challenge your thinking about the risks involved in using alcohol and other drugs. There’s a lot of “information” floating around, and some of it isn’t true. The movies, music, and other media don’t always portray the risks. With all the hype around drugs and alcohol, you may not realize that most students choose not to use. For more information check www.livingati.com. Also, Share your drug free seflies with us on facebook: livingATI or tweet us @Great Falls_afy!