by Hannah McCartney
48 days ago
Posted In: Health
at 02:33 PM | Permalink
Collection hopes to curb prescription drug abuse
If your medicine cabinet could use a good fall cleaning, think about de-cluttering tomorrow during National Drug Take-Back day so you can properly dispose of the pills and make sure they don't get into the wrong hands. The local prescription take-back is sponsored by the Hamilton Country Sheriff Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Prescription drug abuse is a rampant public safety and health issues, and take-back programs are one of a number of public health measures communities can take to reduce prescription drug abuse in their neighborhoods. Even flushing the pills down the toilet poses its own risks; the chemicals could make their way into our water supplies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that fish have suffered serious deformities from pharmaceutical-tainted water supplies, and it could affect humans, too, although the research isn't strong enough to draw any solid conclusions yet. There are three locations around the city where you can bring old prescriptions (all locations are open from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.): Miami Township Community Center, 3780 Shady Lane, North Bend, OH 45052Symmes Township Safety Center, 8871 Weekly Lane, Cincinnati, OH 45249Anderson Center, Five Mile Road, Cincinnati, OH 45230The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 20 percent of people in the United States have used prescription drugs for reasons other than which they were prescribed. In 2010, 7 million Americans abused a prescription drug; pain relieving medications like Vicodin and Oxycontin are the most commonly abused drugs. Unintentional drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in Ohio. The state has experienced a 440 percent growth rate in accidental overdose deaths from 1999 to 2011. According to DrugAbuse.gov, teenagers are especially likely to abuse medications because of their easy accessibility and a lack of awareness about the consequences of abuse. Needles, IV bags and radioactive medicines will not be accepted.
by Hannah McCartney
70 days ago
House overwhelmingly approves loosening restrictions on establishing SEPs
The Ohio House yesterday offered overwhelming support for a
bill that would authorize local health boards across the state to
establish syringe-exchange programs with fewer roadblocks, which could pave the way for Cincinnati to establish myriad programs across its neighborhoods most afflicted by intravenous drug use and bloodborne pathogens. House Bill 92, sponsored jointly by Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Rep. Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania), would remove a restriction that stipulates programs can only be implemented when a local health emergency has been declared and lays out mandates for programs to protect the rights and educate the intravenous drug users who take advantage of the programs. Syringe exchange programs have been the privy to
significant controversy; opposers say that offering addicts the tools they need to fuel
drug habits ultimately fuels destructive habits
and sends the wrong message to drug abusers.
What’s helped turn the issue non-partisan, however, is overwhelming data supporting claims that the program saves lives. In 2004, the World Health Organization published a study
on the effectiveness of syringe programming in reducing HIV/AIDS that
found a “compelling case that (needle-exchange programs) substantially
and cost effectively reduce the spread of HIV among (injection drug
users) and do so without evidence of exacerbating injecting drug use at
either the individual or societal level.”
Adam Reilly, who is an HIV project manager for a local
healthcare provider, says that a syringe exchange program is already in
the works for Springdale; the location is expected to open in about a
month. He says that project has been seven years in the making because of how entangled efforts to establish the program become in bureaucracy. Establishing a program is particularly laborious, he explains, because it requires citywide cooperation — including law enforcement — which has proven to be a challenge for programs in other states, where police officers are prone to harass participants entering or leaving an exchange facility.
The current bill would essentially take the issue out of
the political arena, Reilly says, and thrust the responsibility onto
health departments. The city of Cincinnati in 2012 already declared a public health emergency following significant proof of a citywide HIV/Hepatitis C epidemic sourced primarily from heroin abuse. Cincinnati's now-defunct nonprofit agency STOP AIDS found through focus groups that the majority of intravenous drug users are Caucasian middle-aged males; 145 of 147 study subjects reported using ineffective methods to clean used equipment. Their data estimates that 4,000-6,000 people locally are currently living with HIV/AIDS. STOP AIDS also estimated that spending $385,000 per year on a syringe exchange program has the potential to save nearly $50 million annually in health costs generated from contracting HIV or HCV infections. To make the program as effective as possible, Reilly says other exchange programs offer participants assurance in writing that their identities will be protected; the House bill also says that future programs wold be required to encourage drug users to seek medical, mental health or social services, also offer counseling and other educational requirements. The bill has been assigned to a Senate committee, where it will go through another vote and, if passed, will require Gov. John Kasich's signature to become law.