Colorado Needs to Open Up Online Drug Classes

by: Mike Miller

The war on drugs ion Colorado seems to be a losing battle. That is not only because the state has legalized marijuana. Despite the easy access to marijuana, Colorado also suffers from prescription drug abuse.

The abuse of prescription painkillers is rapidly becoming one of the country’s most serious drug problems. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said in a recent report that the number of overdose deaths from prescription medications is now greater than those from heroin and cocaine combined. How scary is that figure? As reported in

Its issues with marijuana aside, Colorado had the second-highest rate of prescription painkiller abuse in the United States.

So, just what is Colorado and the US government doing to combat this problem? They have developed a four-pronged plan of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which includes education, monitoring, disposal and enforcement. This includes health care providers’ educational needs, barriers to change in practice and educational efforts undertaken by the Colorado Prescription Drug-Abuse Program in 2012.

One of the common forms of drug overdose involves mixing alcohol with painkillers like oxycontin.

Opioid analgesics, which are opium-based drugs designed to alleviate moderate to severe pain, are very dangerous and can be addictive and have dangerous side effects. Some opioid analgesics include the common prescription painkillers oxycontin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone and fentanyl.

The number of deaths in Colorado involving the use of opioid analgesics nearly quadrupled from 87 in 2000 to 304 in 2011. The 304 fatalities from poisoning due to opioid analgesics in 2011were nearly twice the 161 deaths from drunk-driving related fatalities.

I am all in favor of mandating drug awareness classes for all youth. These classes could be done in computer lab – perhaps an 8-hour online drug class given annually to all middle school and high school students.