Sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, National Drug Take Back Day has helped to successfully remove more than 3.4 million pounds, or 1,733 tons, of prescription medication from circulation. The New Mexico Department of Health reports 486 New Mexicans died of a drug overdose in 2012, a seven percent decrease from 2011.
No list of the different drugs that were taken out of circulation? Because I find it hard to believe that most of the 3.4 million pounds of “prescription medication” was actually pain medications.
Governor Martinez has declared the year 2014 “New Mexico’s Crisis of Preventable Overdose Deaths,” to encourage all New Mexicans to get involved in advocating for reducing preventable overdose deaths among family, friends, and neighbors.
“While prescription drugs and other medications, including over-the-counter medicine, can be beneficial when taken properly, they also pose potential health risks when misused,” said Department of Health (DOH) Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Our primary focus needs to be on prevention. We must focus our efforts with health care providers and the public on reducing the misuse of prescription pain medication, which is often the gateway to addiction.”
Using the words “gateway” and “often” suggests everyone who uses prescription pain medication is at risk for misuse and abuse, and that’s not true. And if you want to prevent prescription pain medication abuse, perhaps the Department of Health could find a better way to manage chronic pain… Like administering a Medical Cannabis Program that gives access — for ALL patients — to an additional treatment method at an affordable price.
But keep in mind, Ms. Ward, that medical cannabis is not for all patients. Your friends in the medical industry will have to come up with more treatment options for pain — those that are covered by insurance and, oh yeah, that actually work.