Prescription Drug Abuse Rampant In Indiana

The abuse of prescription drugs is a trend that mirrors the rest of the nation, similar to that of the crack cocaine abuse of the 1980s.

450px-Hydrocodone_liquid

Photo: labandita (Wikimedia Commons)

Hydrocodone may be available by prescription, but users' abuse of it is rampant.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration says prescription drug abuse has reached alarming levels in Indiana. It’s a trend that mirrors the rest of the nation, similar to that of the crack cocaine abuse of the 1980s. Here in Indiana, though, the DEA says painkillers hydrocodone and oxycodone are the drugs of choice among abusers, who tend to be young, white, and to reside in rural areas.

Dennis Wichern, Assistant Special Agent DEA in Indiana, says more than seven million Americans are currently abusing prescription drugs, and that opiate deaths have tripled over the last eight years.

Fairbanks drug counselor Tobyn Linton says painkillers can be a problem that’s easy to ignore; because they are so often prescribed by doctors, they may seem harmless.

“A lot of people get really caught up in that denial, that it’s from a physician so it must be okay,” says Linton. “It carries a great deal of weight, and we do our very best to explain that regardless of where it comes from, this is the end result.”

The DEA says arrests, death rates, and crime linked to illegal use of prescription drugs, including pharmacy break-ins and robberies, have all risen along with the number of drug abusers in the state.

Rachel Lyon

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Rachel Lyon came to Bloomington in 2009 to pursue her MFA in Creative Writing at IU. At WFIU, she is an announcer for All Things Considered and classical music, and she produces features for Artworks. Rachel's glad to be working in radio again after a long drought since her undergraduate years, when she was a DJ for WPRB, the independent station in Princeton, NJ.

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