The prescription drub epidemic has only grown stronger in recent months and has lead to even more fatalities and heroin addictions. Approximately four out of every five new heroin users started out missing prescription painkillers. Thankfully, there are groups like Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse that are fighting against this nationwide health concern.
Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse was formed to both bring awareness about the dangers of prescription drug addiction and to fight against legislation and medical regulations allowing it. They are attempting to change the entire perception about recreational prescription, too, which is far too common with our nation’s youth. It’s a common misconception among teenagers and 20-year-olds that prescription drugs are safer than illicit drugs — but that’s not the case. These pills are harmful on their own and have been shown to lead to severe heroin addictions.
“Our federal government has been controlled by these pharmaceutical companies for years. They spend $80 million a year on lobbying,” said Emily Walden, who lost her son to prescription opioids at the age of 22 years old. “So when parents like me go to Washington, they just nod their heads and move on.”
Walden ended up meeting hundreds of parents across the United States that have dealt with children suffering from opioid addictions. The opioid epidemic now claims close to 60,000 American lives each year, and it’s been extremely difficult to fight for individual parents.
“For me, that was a horrendous crime that nobody wanted to listen,” added Sherrie Rubin, who lost her son Aaron to an OxyContin overdose in 2005. “I could see this epidemic coming, and I could see a train that was not going to stop. Nobody would listen in the first five years.”
It’s estimated that roughly 98,000 Americans die each year due to preventable medical errors, including 7,000 deaths caused by medication errors. But those statistics don’t take into account the acceptable prescriptions being given out to young children that eventually transition into full-blown addictions and potential fatalities.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of teenagers using heroin has doubled over the past decade due largely in part to prescription pills accessibility.
“Good American families that are losing these kids right and left,” added Dr. Fred Von Stieff. “And what’s happening is it’s an epidemic and it’s killing people.”
Stephanie, a self-described American soccer mom found her oldest son doing heroin inside her home.
“It’s in my own home, and I have since learned that not only is it in my home but is rampant in my community,” she added. “Now I know maybe there was a Vicodin in middle school, maybe a Percocet in their freshman year that evolved into oxycodone, and then from there, it turned into heroin.”