Prescription drug overdose on the rise

By Nick Kovatch on November 28 at 2:00pm

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The number of fatal overdoses has dramatically increased over the past decade and it’s a major problem in West Central Illinois.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the increase is due to the overuse of prescription drugs.

Overdoses of prescription drugs have more than tripled over the past 20 years and continue to be a growing problem, which is why local health officials are urging those who struggle with prescription drug addiction to seek help.

The Wells Center in Jacksonville helps those who are affected by drug abuse.

Amy McCombs, Program Director at the Wells Center, talked to our reporting partners at ABC News Channel 20 about the problem.

“About 3/4 of overdose deaths are related to prescription drug overdoses as opposed to other illegal drugs,” said. “Certainly for some of those people it may be intentional but for a lot of those people it’s not.”

In just one year alone, they have seen a 50 percent increase of prescription drug use, which is why they urge those who struggle with drug addiction understand the consequences.

“Don’t just stop them on your own,” said McCombs. “If you are prescribed them go and see your doctor to get weaned off of them appropriately or get into detoxification centers to be monitored and we can do whatever we can to make sure you are not going to have those consequences of it.”

If you know someone who’s struggling with prescription drug use and might need help visit wellscenter.org for more information.