Prescription Drug Abuse in Illinois, How Lawmakers Plan to Tackle This Growing Problem

Recorded, tabulated, and reviewed statistics of the last several years show without any shred of a doubt that prescription pill abuse is rising rapidly in popularity in terms of illicit obtainment and use in the United States. According to a recent study done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, more than a full fifteen million people in the United States abuse prescription drugs. This number is more than the combined total of all of the individuals who have admitted to abusing cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, and heroin! Heroin used to be the most popular drug in the United States, and was by far the most commonly used drug in the nation for many years. This is most definitely no longer the case.

At the forefront of one of the many campaigns to stave off the impending epidemic of prescription pill addiction in this country, The State of Illinois is forwarding a new plan to try and curb prescription pill abuse. Illinois lawmakers plan to consider, when they next convene in session, a bill that would insist that all pill bottles issued with prescription meds in them be issued with locks on them.

These proposed locks are basically a four digit thumb wheel lock that is built into the cap of the bottle itself. Theft of prescription pills from others who are actually prescribed the medication itself is one of the main avenues for addicts to acquire these highly addictive pills, and lawmakers and proponents of this bill alike are sincerely hoping that this new locking system will help to curb potential addicts from stealing prescription pills.

Foolproof Plan?

While it is not a foolproof plan, locks on pill bottles will make it increasingly difficult for abusers, addicts, and recreational users to get at the pills. The more stops and barriers put in the way of an individual actually getting to the physical drug itself, the higher the odds become that the person will thankfully not get to the drug in the end.

Most individuals who would steal another’s medication, like any other type of attempted thievery, are usually operating in a tightly constricted time window to get in, get the pills, and get out. Things like locked doors, locked medicine cabinets, and finally, if this bill goes through, locked pill bottles themselves, will all make the theft of these highly addictive and dangerous substances more and more difficult to perform.

As with any proposed idea or thought in the lawmaking process, there will always be opposition or downsides to the proposition. One of the concerns put forward by some individuals after this bill was initially introduced was that this type of lock system could make opening the bottle itself more difficult for elderly persons to perform, many of whom may struggle with arthritic hands and joints. In response to this concern a trial system was set up, and the locks were tested out in and around Chicago and the greater metropolitan area to really ascertain if there would be any viable difficulties for elderly residents to get the bottles open. Tests are still being performed, but as of yet there have been no complaints or difficulties in getting the bottles open.

The majority of prescription abuse still to this day comes from individuals who abuse their own medication. Most prescription pill addicts will admit to initially getting a prescription from a doctor for some viable reason, and then, as many have before them, becoming addictive to the drugs they were prescribed. This lock method would offer no help or consolation to this, larger group of prescription pill addicts. However, the numbers of individuals becoming addicted to prescription pills by stealing medications from others has been on the rise for quite some time now, and it is forecasted that this bill would help significantly in curbing the number of new addicts born of prescription pill theft.

How to Help Someone with A Drug Problem in Illinois

Drugs affect everyone who partakes in them in a different way. On very rare occasions, someone can use a drug and not feel any of the many addictive effects of that drug. These instances are few and far between however, and in most cases, recreational usage of drugs will lead to an addiction to them. Substance abuse and its resulting physical and mental consequences can cause problems and difficulties at the workplace, at home and with the family, at school and with grades and education, and in personal relations as well. What this all amounts to is a life of strife and travail as one is pulled ever and ever deeper into the uncontrollable trap that is addiction.

Thankfully, help is out there. The keys to recovery, sobriety, and a new, healthy lifestyle are all obtainable for all addicts. Before one attempts to help a loved one, it would behoove him or her to know a couple of the important aspects of drug abuse and dependency, and some of the time tested ways to get a loved one help with his or her own, personal addiction.

  • People often take drugs to fill some kind of void.

The vast majority of addicted persons, while going through rehabilitation, admitted to taking drugs in the first place to substitute for something else, to fill a void in their hearts or minds, or to ignorantly try to use drugs to handle some kind of problem in their lives. Most people who use drugs in this way rapidly cross the line from casual drug use to drug abuse and addiction. The way to help someone who appears to be using drugs to substitute for something else, to not have to confront something, or to try and handle some problem, is to sit down with them and actually get down to the root of what it is they are using drugs for and help them work through that, so the need for the drug diminishes.

  • People are often ignorant of drugs, and do not fully understand the consequences of taking them.

Studies show that over ninety percent of individuals who became hooked on drugs had absolutely no idea the extent or length of the consequences of what they were getting themselves involved in. This percentage is even higher for young adults. Perhaps the best way to combat addiction, especially with someone who has very recently become addicted, is to get them informed on what they are really setting themselves up for in terms of physical dependence, disease, sickness, loss of family, loss of employment, financial ruin, overdose, and potentially even death. Countless websites, pamphlets, and books exist to aide one in spreading the truth about drugs.

  • People often abuse drugs because they have nothing better to do.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the United States ranks number one in the WORLD for drug abuse. For example, the proportion of people in the United States who have used cocaine at some time during their lives is in fact four times higher than 16 other nations surveyed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The United States also leads in lifetime use of cannabis and tobacco. Many authorities on the subject have extrapolated that this is due to the higher comfort levels of the average American citizen, as compared to citizens of many other countries. Citizens of the United States have some of the least threatened and easiest lives of individuals on the planet, and this often leads to far too much time on one’s hands, and thusly, recreational drug abuse. If one notices sudden recreational use in a friend or loved one, a preventative measure may be something as simple as getting the individual to spend his or her time doing other things. Hobbies, jobs, chores, responsibilities, activities, friendships, projects; any of these can do their part in curbing drug use.

  • Inpatient, residential, drug rehabilitation programs WORK.

When all else fails and one has a true blue, totally, and completely addicted individual on his or her hands, inpatient rehabilitation programs stand tall as the single most effective way of ridding oneself of addiction. If the above methods don’t solve the problem in getting a family member or loved one off of drugs successfully, the right rehab, selected carefully and agreed to by the addict, will give the individual a greater chance at a new life than he or she ever could’ve of dreamed of having before.