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September 28, 2012
I'm not what you would call a "pill popper." Actually, I'm something of the reverse. When I get sick, I weather it out for a few days, hoping for the best. It's just how I grew up. I'm not saying there were homeopathic, hippie remedies in my mother's kitchen, but some were close.

Teas for sore throats, herbs for headaches and aching joints and so on. They took longer than drugs, I'm sure, but they worked. Usually.

What I'm getting at is that there were rarely lots of pills floating around my house. I'm sure this is not the case for many homes around North Fulton. We like our pill culture. It goes hand-in-hand with the push-button life we love. Instant gratification.

What so many people don't realize is that prescription pill abuse is much more of a problem than illegal drug abuse. How many people do you think have access to LSD or Ecstasy? Now how many people have access to Hydrocodone?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations has released numbers on the amount of people outside of the metro area who died in 2011 due to legal drug overdoses – 512. I'm sure if you add in Fulton and the surrounding counties, that number goes much higher.

That number is a whopping 77 percent of all drug-related deaths that year. Illegal drugs accounted for only 12 percent. A combination of legal and illegal drugs makes up the remaining percent.

The vast majority of these prescription deaths were caused by anxiety drug Alprazolam and pain relievers Oxycodone, Methadone and Hydrocodone. In many of these deaths, more than one drug was used.

Most of the dead were between 25 and 54. Ninety-one percent of the deaths were classified as "accidental," where the victim took the wrong medicine, or too much of the medicine, or mixed it with something else.

To help combat these accidental deaths, governments around the state and the country have started the drug take-back days. The next one is Sept. 29, with all the cities of North Fulton taking part in collecting unused drugs. No questions are asked when the drugs are handed in.

The aim is to simply get the drugs out of harm's way – away from children and pets and teens – and into the hands of people who can properly dispose of them.

It's time to get those drugs out of our homes.

Editor, Milton Herald
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