KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A report card issued for both Kansas and Missouri shows where the two states stand on the issue of prescription drug abuse-- and both are very different.
One local drug addiction specialist said “it absolutely scares me” as she went through the numbers.
In the Show Me State, according to the group HealthyAmericans.org, the number of deaths mostly related to prescription drug use has tripled since 1999. The state has the seventh highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States, with 17 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities.
The same study shows Kansas has the 8th lowest numbers of deaths caused by prescription drugs.
The report found Missouri received a three out of 10 rating for possible indicators of promising strategies to help curb prescription drug abuse while Kansas was given a rating of four out of 10.
Although the numbers don’t appear to be that much different, the interpretation of them really is.
Molly O’Neill, the President and CEO of First Call Alcohol/Drug Prevention and Recovery, said Kansas’ prescription drug monitoring program helps keep track of the drugs dispersed and helps authorities know who is asking for how many prescriptions and when.
That helps cut back on people “emergency room shopping or doctor shopping” according to O’Neill.
"The greatest increase has typically been suburban woman for use of prescription drugs, but we are also seeing athletes use them," she said.
O’Neill also said during their last drug take back program approximately 900 pounds of prescription drugs were turned in. Adding to her theory that pain killers are easy to get and easy to abuse.
"There isn't really the kind of motivation or concern that we need to be seeing out of our law makers in Missouri to try and curb drug and alcohol abuse," said O’Neill.
If you would like to read more about the report, you can visit www.healthyamericans.org .
You can visit, firstcallkc.org for more information about when and where to drop off old prescription drugs. O'Neill advises to never flush them but rather try and drop them off at a police station or pharmacy.
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