Are 15 Hour Drug Education Classes Making a Difference?

by: Mike Miller

Have you heard any good news recently about prescription drug use in America lately? I sure haven’t. Believe me, as a counselor for both in-class and online drug classes I am hyper-aware of the nation’s problems with using and abusing prescription medications.

Well, I have found my first bit of good news. As reported in

According to a very recent government study, drug classes and efforts to go after doctors over-prescribing medication may be paying off. Nevertheless, the new report underscores that there is still much to be done to reduce the toll that substance abuse takes on the American people.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that the number of people abusing narcotic pain pills, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives nationwide in 2011 was 6.1 million, a 12.9 percent drop from 2010 and the lowest rate of abuse since 2002.

Those numbers seem highly suspect to me.

Leading the way for the decrease were young adults, or people ages 18 to 25, whose abuse of prescription drugs fell by 14 percent. Every day I counsel adolescents who are addicted to medications like Adderall and Vicodin.

The report was not all good news. The number of people addicted to pain relievers in 2011 -- about 1.4 million -- was about 50 percent higher than in 2002. In regard to other types of drugs, the survey found that marijuana use continues to increase among youth, and fewer of them think using marijuana is risky.

Clearly, efforts to combat drug abuse and educate people -- particularly our young people -- about the dangers associated with it are still sorely needed. We need to mandate 15 hour drug awareness classes beginning in middle school and make these drug classes a regular part of the middle school and high school curriculums.