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Attorney General Janet T. Mills Galvanizes the Fight Against Prescription Drug Abuse in Maine
September 16, 2010
National Take-Back Initiative Press Conference
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Attorney General Janet T. Mills
On September 8th, Attorney General Janet T. Mills, flanked by law enforcement officers and community members, spoke to a crowd in the Hall of Flags about the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative scheduled for September 25th. Her remarks were as follows:
Too often we hear the phrase, “I’m from the government. I’m here to help you.”
Today the members of state, federal and local governments ask for your help in combating one of the biggest threats to our social fabric in this decade: prescription drug diversion and abuse.
In the last nine years, the number of deaths from misuse of prescription drugs has more than doubled.
The number of homicides related to prescription drugs is on the rise: people are literally killing each other over this stuff.
The number of drug related deaths has surpassed the number of traffic fatalities on Maine’s highways.
Pharmacy robberies, home invasions, assaults and violent crimes related to prescription drugs have become an everyday occurrence, every day’s news, with dangerous consequences.
Elderly and disabled people are abused and exploited for their prescriptions.
Prescription drugs is the number one cause of crime in our state today.
Prescription drug misuse and diversion costs us millions in MaineCare funds, in insurance claims, in hospital, medical and psychiatric care.
The “National Prescription Drug Threat Assessment,” published by the U.S. Department of Justice, reports that prescription drug misuse costs public and private insurers $72.5 billion a year and that it has resulted in a 114 percent increase in overdose deaths. We are paying for this problem in every way.
More importantly and more tragically, 464 drug-affected babies were born in Maine in 2008 alone. Imagine the impact of these births on our foster care system, on our health care system, on our education system, on the social, medical and economic fabric of our society.
Prescription drug diversion is an epidemic in our state, in our nation today. It is a public health issue, an economic issue, a public safety issue, an environmental issue. We need to cry out, “all hands on deck!”
The idea that prescription drugs are safe is a thing of the past. Prescription drugs are drugs and they are dangerous when used improperly.
You can help.
Getting rid of unused or expired medicines will help ensure your own safety. Without drugs in the medicine cabinet, thieves will not target you. Without drugs in the medicine cabinet, children, neighbors, friends and others cannot turn on you, raid your home, hold you hostage. A drug-free home is a safe home.
So, we are from the government. We are here to help you. Help us help you. Spread the word. Let’s make Maine the most successful “drug take-back” state in the country on September 25th! The safe disposal of prescription drugs is critical to the safety of our state.
On September 25th, take back the security of your home. Take back the safety of our streets. Take back the sanity of our communities… Take back those drugs!
To find a drug take-back site near you, visit: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/takeback/