The percentage of young people who have been arrested and “self-reported” prescription drug use is the highest it has ever been in San Diego County according to a report released Monday.
Those statistics were part of the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force (PDATF) study of the prescription drug problem over the last five years in San Diego County.
The study shows that in 2011, 37% of juvenile suspects say they have abused prescription drugs. That’s compared to 41 % of adult arrestees saying they have taken painkillers and other medicines without a prescription.
San Diego County released the information Monday to show how illegal drug use has changed over the past five years. See report here
The number of people entering drug treatment facilities who list heroin as their drug of choice was at a five-year peak in 2011 with 22.3 % compared to 17.2% in 2007.
The number of people who've died from taking prescription drugs incorrectly, has increased by almost 60 people in a span of five years, countywide.
Even if they didn't die, the number of people who were discharged from an emergency room after being treated for an overdose on medicines such as Vicodin, morphine, codeine or heroin has rapidly increased by 20-percent in 2010.
What’s dropped in the last five years is the cost of some of these drugs.
The task force report shows OxyContin used to cost up to $50 per pill. Now, the medication can be purchased illegally for as cheap as $15 per pill. The powerful painkiller Vicodin can go for $4 a pill according to the county’s study.
The message to residents is to avoid tossing unused or unwanted prescription medications in the garbage. Do not sell the pills or give them to someone else. Instead, drop them off in a collection box, at any sheriff's station or police department at any time of the year.