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.