By The Miami Hurricane editorial board
You've had your wisdom teeth pulled out, your dad broke his leg or your roommate has trouble sleeping. Open up your medical cabinet and take a look at what's inside. There is a good chance you have a collection of pill bottles.
In Florida, pill popping is easy. Unfortunately, many people are capable of faking a health problem in order to unnecessarily obtain painkillers, antidepressants and sleeping aids at a local pain clinic or doctor's office. Not to mention the secret pill pushers that roam the city streets and college campuses.
Current statistics show that 13-year-olds, seeking ways to stay attentive while studying or to solve what they think is depression, are becoming addicted to prescription drugs right at home. If the child or their parents were once prescribed a drug, leftovers might still be sitting in their medicine cabinet. If middle school kids are taking pills with no legitimate reason, then how many college students are doing the same?
Although prescription drugs are harmful, they do have a purpose for people who have a reason to take them. This does not include taking Adderall to study for a test. Too much of anything is bad, even if it comes with a prescription.
There must be a way to prevent this abuse.
One solution may lie in educating individuals at an early age about these prescription drugs, which will allow them to see the harm legal pills can cause if used without a legitimate purpose. This education can be reinforced in the grade-school program Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), in which students learn about drug resistance, peer pressure, gangs and violence. Although D.A.R.E. already mentions prescription drug abuse, it should be talked about with the same severity as marijuana and other gateway drugs.
In D.A.R.E., students will be able to learn at a young age the harmful effects of painkillers, antidepressants and sleeping aids. Addiction and abuse of these medications can lead to overdose, intoxication and death. If people are aware of the effects of overusing these drugs, they may be less likely to do it.
If something isn't done to bring light to this issue, the future does not look promising. We believe that education is the first step to solving this problem, but more needs to be done to create long-term solutions.