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Larissa Doucette

While efforts to curb high rates of prescription drug abuse continue, prescription painkiller abuse and misuse is increasing among seniors. In fact, the number of seniors who were misusing or dependent on prescription pain medications climbed from 132,000 in 2002 to more than 330,000 in 2012, according to a USA Today report. Further, the number of opioid prescriptions written for seniors increased by 20% over five years, as indicated in the report. The article also explored possible causes for the epidemic such as overprescribing and dangerous combinations of drugs such as benzodiazepines and opioid painkillers.

In support of efforts to prevent and reduce prescription drug abuse, NABP provides information to consumers about the risks of abusing prescription drugs through its AWARXE® Prescription Drug Safety Program. Information on the AWARXE website also includes how to safely dispose of and store prescription medications in order to prevent accidental misuse, abuse, and diversion. In addition to these efforts, NABP and the Anti-Diversion Industry Working Group, a consortium of pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributers, recently released a new video called “Red Flags,” which helps pharmacists and other pharmacy personnel recognize signs of potential abuse or diversion.