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Prescription Drug Abuse Now Leading Cause of Accidental Death

Drugs and alcohol have long been a problem in our society. Addiction affects all demographics and ages, including kids, as young as those in fifth grade.

But this problem of addiction is not limited to illegal drug and alcohol abuse. According to the Clinton Foundation, prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest growing drug problem. In fact, more people in the US died in 2013 from drug overdoses than car accidents, making prescription drug abuse the leading cause in accidental death.

Not surprisingly, this epidemic has been particularly rampant on college campuses across the country. Students use stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall, which are readily available and deemed safe for use, to stay up for late night study sessions; they also use opiates like Vicodin and Oxycontin.

Per Wickstrom of A Forever Recovery has been vocal in his concern of this rising problem among young adults who are finding themselves addicted to these “safer” drugs. Because these are not illegal — and in most cases are actually prescribed — college students don’t see a problem in using them, especially if they consider their usage “occasional.”

Wickstrom sat down with All-Pro Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who battled with addiction for many years, at AFR to discuss the rising problem of prescription drug abuse and asked him to weigh in on this issue.

“My best friend’s son got hooked on pills and I saw him completely destroy himself,” said Taylor. “I used to talk to him, talk to him, talk to him; and just like pills and crack and alcohol, at some point in time, you have to hope that they get it.

“Pills, I think it’s so much harder than crack — you have to go look for crack. These pills are everywhere. Doctors just hand them out. It’s amazing how society has changed.”

The Clinton Foundation pointed out that, over the last 20 years, the consumption of prescription stimulants has increased from 5 million to 45 million. According to their statistics, one person dies every 19 minutes from a drug overdose, and overdoses involving prescription painkillers now kill more Americans than those involving heroin and cocaine combined — an alarming number.

“I think the only thing that you can really do is educate them (young adults). You have to constantly talk to them,” said Taylor. “They don’t need something to enhance their life or mood; everything they need is inside themselves.”

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