Prescription drug misuse and abuse is a serious problem both nationally and here in Colorado. In 2016, overdose deaths involving opioids numbered approximately 42,000 nationally; there were 504 fatal overdoses involving opioids in Colorado that year. Such deaths are now more common than alcohol-related traffic fatalities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call prescription drug overdose deaths one of the four most serious epidemics facing the nation. As recently as 2010-2011, Colorado ranked #2 in the nation among young adults ages 12-24 for self-admitted, non-medical use of prescription painkillers. Enough opioid painkillers are dispensed by pharmacies in the United States to supply each and every American citizen with enough painkilling pills to take one every four hours, around the clock, for a month. To address this problem, Colorado convened experts from across the state to create the Colorado Plan to Reduce Rx Abuse (see below/right for a downloadable PDF copy of the plan).
In February 2015, the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, which is supported by and located at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus,
launched a statewide public awareness campaign called TakeMedsSeriously.org
. The campaign has three key messages: Safe Use, Safe Storage, and Safe Disposal of prescription medications; as well as informative statistics, real life stories from affected families, a quiz to test your knowledge, and useful links to resources that can help people find ways to protect themselves and their loved ones from the problems and consequences of misuse or abuse.