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Prescription drug abuse raises questions in Nebraska
Grand Island Police are still looking for a bandit who held up a drug store early Sunday. He didn't take money, he took prescriptions. The use of illegal prescription drugs is increasing across the nation and even in the state of Nebraska.
Substance Abuse Educators say accessibility and profit are taking over what's commonly known as street drugs.
It's across the board as to what groups of society are doing it and some see it as an easier form of using drugs.
And in Nebraska there isn't a system in place where pharmaceutical offices can communicate back and forth and track what people are doing.
"Oxycontin, codeine, morphine just about anything that people can get their hands on," said Substance Abuse educator Carolynn Perkins.
The use of illegal prescription drugs has become the latest street drug phenomenon.
"More people are abusing prescription drugs not to get high. They're abusing prescription drugs to self medicate," Perkins said.
It's an alternative method for pain. Plus, for sellers and buyers the price is right.
"A lot of people are not using the drugs, either making money off of them, selling them, most of the street drugs they vary by topic or what the pill is, but anywhere from $5-10 so it's within reason if you're going to abuse a drug," said Hastings ASAAP Executive Director Scott Stempert.
The Nebraska Protector Survey from 2010 showed about 52% of kids in Hall County do not perceive prescription drug abuse as a problem. That number isn't as high for Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster counties.
"Statistics are showing the last two years ago a study was done surveying high school students - 6th ,8th ,10th and 12th graders in our area. It shows about 12% usage of prescription drugs," said Stempert.
The epidemic is hitting all age levels.
"About 18.3% of seniors throughout Nebraska report using, abusing prescription drugs that were not subscribed to them," Michelle Schultz said.
People are becoming increasingly desperate for a fix and a profit.
It's considered socially acceptable. We see prescription drug advertisements on TV, we see them in magazines, we have a pill for every little ailment.
Nationally, reports show that 52 million Americans have used prescription drugs at least once for non-medical reasons.
During late spring of 2013 a new survey will be provided on the use of prescription drug abuse within the past two years.
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