EDITORIAL: Saturday event draws additional attention to prescription drug abuse – Enid News & Eagle

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A special event Saturday will bring attention to the problem of prescription drug abuse and misuse in the Enid area.

That event, the 3rd annual Picnic for Progress, will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Champion Park, 700 N. 10th.

The picnic will feature 20 nonprofits and social agencies, and will include a prescription drug take-back event operated by Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, free food, games and prizes. It is sponsored by Austin Box “12” Foundation, Garfield County Drug and Alcohol Coalition and PreventionWorks.

Awareness is a key to halting what is a major problem — the abuse of prescription drugs, according to a report from Castlight Health.

Enid is listed as the No. 3 city on its top 25 list based on prescriptions abused, with a 54.7 percent rate. Oklahoma City ranks 12th with 46.8 percent. For opioid abuse rates, Castlight Health ranks Enid as the No. 4 city in its top 25 cities. Oklahoma City ranks 16th on the list.

According to Castlight:

• Nearly 2 million Americans are abusing prescription opioids.

• 16,000 people die every year from prescription opioid overdoses.

• Sales of opioid prescriptions in the U.S. nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2010.

• 259 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2012, enough for every American adult to have their own bottle of pills.

• Opioid abuse costs the U.S. economy nearly $56 billion.

Austin Box “12” Foundation has been a big part of the Picnic for Progress efforts.

Created by Craig and Gail Box, the foundation has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to the dangers of prescription drug abuse in Garfield County and Oklahoma.

The foundation also works to promote naloxone, an opioid inhibitor that can save lives in the event of an opioid overdose; it’s usually administered through a nasal spray, but can also go through an IV. 

Sadly, the Box family knows firsthand the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Austin Box, an Enid High School graduate and University of Oklahoma football player, died in 2011 of an overdose.

We encourage people to attend the Picnic for Progress. The information a person gains could end up saving a life.

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