To the Point for 6-28-12

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THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE as a community look around at national statistics and think things like, “Thank God we don’t live in a big city with all of those problems.”

Well, as the information you’ll read below will tell you, those “big city problems” that we used to read about are more and more becoming our problems.

The statistics found in the article here reports on the abuse of prescription drugs, tobacco, and alcohol here in Southeastern Indiana – including Switzerland County. These aren’t statistics from the big city, they are statistics from right here at home.

Sometimes we shelter ourselves by thinking that because we live in a small, rural community, things like the abuse of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco can’t happen here.

We’re wrong.

More and more, people – children and adults (this isn’t just a teenager problem) – are falling victim to abusive tendencies. It’s not just prescriptions - there is talk of federal legislation outlawing bath salts.

Bath salts? Who got so desperate that they decided ingesting bath salts was a good idea?

So here is an article that contains the results of a survey for five counties that make up Southeastern Indiana: Switzerland, Ohio, Dearborn, Ripley, and Franklin. Read the information and educate yourself on the dangers of rising abuse here.

Want to know more? Pam Acton at the Community Foundation of Switzerland County had a role in helping with this report, I’m sure she can shed even more light on its findings.

The best tool to fight these issues is to educate ourselves.

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According to a 2012 oversample from the Greater Cincinnati Survey, nearly 1- in-5 (18-percent) Southeast Indiana adults reported that they had friends or family members who had problems as a result of abusing prescription pain relievers. This means an estimated 16,000 Southeast Indiana adults know someone who has abused prescription pain relievers.

The ASAP (Assistance for Substance Abuse Prevention) Center sponsored the research.

“A group of our partners in the rural Southeast Indiana counties identified the lack of data about adult substance use as a barrier to getting communities to focus on substance abuse issues,” explains Mary Francis, director of the ASAP Center. “We sponsored this research to collect reliable, high-quality data about smoking, excessive alcohol use and the misuse of prescription pain relievers in the five Indiana counties we serve.”

Those counties are Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland.

“Prescription drugs are safe when used as directed by the person for whom they have been prescribed,” says Mary Francis. “However, misuse of any medication can have serious adverse health effects.”

Southeast Indiana adults also were asked if they had ever used a pain reliever such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet or codeine without a prescription for the experience or feeling it caused: five-percent said they had.

According to data from the Indiana prescription drug monitoring program, 58,652 prescriptions for hydrocodone and 17,903 prescriptions for oxycodone were written in the five Southeast Indiana counties in 2008. That equates to more than one prescription of hydrocodone for every two persons and 1.5 prescriptions of oxycodone for every 10 persons in Southeast Indiana.

The Southeast Indiana oversample study found that among adults who had been prescribed a pain reliever that could not be bought over the counter, about 2-in-10 (20-percent) reported that they had been prescribed more pills than were needed.

And nearly half (47-percent) of Southeast Indiana adults dispose of prescription drugs in unsafe ways, such as throwing them away or flushing them down the drain.

 

Tobacco and Alcohol Use

About 1-in-5 (17-percent) adults in the U.S. and in the state of Indiana (21-percent) were current smokers in 2010. Similarly, 22-percent of adults in Southeast Indiana are current smokers.

There is variation across the rural Indiana counties that the ASAP Center serves. Nearly 3-in-10 (28-percent) adults in Dearborn County smoke, compared with only 1-in-10 (10-percent) in Franklin County.

Like the state and the nation, Southeast Indiana has seen a decrease in the percentage of current smokers in the last decade.

– 1-in-7 adults (16-percent) in Southeast Indiana reported binge drinking in the 30 days before the survey, similar to rates in the state (14-percent) and the nation (15-percent) in 2010. Binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks on one occasion for women and five or more drinks on one occasion for men. Binge drinking trends have been consistent since 2002. However, nearly 1-in-4 adults (24-percent) in Dearborn County reported binge drinking, higher than regional averages and national targets.

For more information about this Greater Cincinnati Survey oversample, visit http://www.asapcenter.org/resources.html.

– About the Greater Cincinnati Survey, Southeast Indiana Oversample:

The Greater Cincinnati Survey, Southeast Indiana Oversample, sponsored by the ASAP Center, conducted January 3rd-15th, 2012, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 523 adults throughout Southeast Indiana in Franklin, Ripley, Dearborn, Ohio and Switzerland counties was interviewed by telephone.

In 95 of 100 cases, regional estimates will be accurate to ±4.3-percent. There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording or context effects that can introduce error or bias.

– About the Assistance for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Center:

The ASAP Center’s work is focused on its partners – youth, youth group leaders, educators, clergy, volunteers, and others who are working to address the needs for prevention in their communities. The ASAP Center supports Partners’ community-based activities, helping them tap into resources to be more effective.

The ASAP Center offer workshops, a resource library and one-on-one consultations to community groups. Through these and other activities, the ASAP Center teaches and connects people to substance abuse prevention resources. For more information about the ASAP Center’s work, please see www.asapcenter.org.