Prescription Drug Abuse in The US is Skyrocketing!

by admin on September 22, 2010

Fontana, CA  September 22, 2010– What is the number one abused drug on the streets today?  Some think marijuana, while others think alcohol, however there are still others who believe it is much harder substances, such as methamphetamines and cocaine.    All are wrong.  The number one drug on the streets today is prescription medications.

The street value of prescription medications have steadily increased and the ease of getting prescription medications have also increased due to generic low cost alternatives.  For example, take Xanax.  One can acquire a bottle of generic Xanax for approximately $4.50 from any major pharmacy in the US.  Each pill has a street value of approximately $5-10 dollars.  This is scary!

What is more astounding is that there are so many prescriptions written each year where the bottles generally go untouched!  This has become a major problem, especially in the area of pain management.  One may be prescribed a bottle of pain medication and they may not need nearly as much as the maximum dose. Therefore the bottle may be half full by the time one comes off the medication.  That bottle then sits in a medicine cabinet for any length of time.  How many people even know what is in their medicine cabinets?  Not many do.  What is to say a child, grandchild, or neighbor’s child is not stealing from those bottles?  Would one even know?

The DEA has declared that nearly 7 million Americans are abusing prescription drugs!  That’s more than the number abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy, and inhalants, combined!  That number was 3.8 million in 2000, an 80% increase in 6 years.

Prescription pain relievers are the new drug users’ drug of choice because of the cost and ease to procure the drugs.  Nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors admit to abusing powerful prescription painkillers according to the DEA.  The seniors think abusing prescription painkillers are safer than so-called “street” drugs.  As with the Xanax example above, painkillers such as Vicoden, are sold in generic form for literally 4 dollars a bottle from major pharmacies.

In the drug testing industry, there has been an increase in positive painkiller confirmations in safety sensitive jobs.  Whether driving a commercial truck, or controlling a tractor, these are jobs that one mistake can lead to serious damage, injury, or death.

Many businesses do not realize the overall liability that this can pose to them for NOT drug testing.  For the companies out there that choose to “look the other way” and hope that if they ignore the problem, it does not exist – this should be an eye opener.  As the cost of business increases and the economy is struggling, every business owner should be considering the cost of liability and a potential lawsuit for someone who is over-medicated or on illegal drugs.

If the bottle the medication comes in states “do not drive while on this medication” or “may impair your judgment,” as a business owner your company is taking a huge risk with that employee in a safety sensitive job… the employer ought to consider an alternative position for that employee until they are off the medication, or better yet, have a note from the doctor saying that it is safe for the employee to return to the safety sensitive position.

H & S Business Services is available to address educational, civic, and other groups on a variety of drug related topics, including drugs and teens and the myriad of treatments, drug abuse assistance, and how government agencies are working to combat the prevalence of drug abuse.

H &S Business Services, LLC., based in Fontana, CA is a full service drug testing company offering consultations on Drug Free Workplace policies and full service drug testing.  The advantage of H & S Business Services is that generally they go to the business and conduct on-site testing, supervisor training, human resources training, and employee training on the company policies, drug testing policies, workplace violence and sexual harassment training.  Please contact us for any questions on the above article or for a complementary consultation on your current Drug Free Workplace Policy.  You can visit us online at or call us at (888) 343-6673 toll free.


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