A new task force aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse will compile recommendations for the state legislature to act on next session.
Indiana created the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force with a membership made up of legislators, law enforcement and health officials, pharmaceutical representatives, state and local agencies and educators. State department of health chief medical officer Joan Duwve, who co-chairs the task force, calls prescription drug abuse an epidemic in the state.
She says more than one in five Hoosier high schoolers have used a prescription drug for a non-medical purpose
“Half of them think it’s safer to take a controlled substance – it’s prescribed by a doctor. And 60-70% say that their home medicine cabinet is where they got those drugs.”
Duwve says part of the problem stems from doctors over-prescribing pain medication.
“I think folks are hesitant to get rid of them because they may need them again in the future. And so they put them in their medicine cabinet and then they are just easy prey for teenagers.”
Committees within the task force will focus on education, treatment and recovery, and prescription drug monitoring, disposal and enforcement.