Prescription Drug Abuse Problem Highlighted by Death of Michael Jackson

Thousands of stories have recently been written about the death of Michael Jackson and the association of the entertainer’s death with prescription medications. Now several other articles highlighting the concern over this growing social crisis have begun to shine a light on the enormous scope of the problem.

TransWorldNews published an article on August 4, 2009 titled, “Prescription Drug Abuse Major Source of Health Care Cost”. In this article they report that in the previous month alone approximately 5.2 million people admitted to using prescription medication for purposes other than what they were prescribed for.

The authors of the TransWorldNews article make a very prophetic statement when they say, “Attempting to sell a pill sized answer to every life problem has become one of the most expensive and devastating health care issues ever to face the country.”

Speaking on the same subject in an August 7, 2009 Idaho Mountain Express article, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, who participated in a panel discussion on the subject stated, “There’s a bigger problem with prescription drug use than there ever has been with meth, in terms of human fatalities. The fact is, we’ve been seeing more people die from prescription drug use in Washington state than we have to automobile accidents.” Stephen J. Pasierb, president and CEO of Partnership for a Drug-Free America, who also participated in the panel added, “There’s a significant weakening in drug-free attitudes. Illegal drug use is going down, but it’s being replaced by prescription drug abuse.”

A article on August 4, 2009 reported that according to research from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one out of every five US teenagers, or 20 percent, has abused prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Numerous news outlets are now reporting that Michael Jackson used over 19 different alias names to purchase prescription drugs. Although many celebrities use alias names to check into hotels and spas, when they use them to obtain prescription drugs, it is a crime. In the wake of this news, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America encourages parents to take this opportunity to talk with their teens about the risks of prescription drug abuse. They note that tips and tools on how to have effective conversations are available on the website,

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