The nonmedical use and abuse of prescription drugs is a serious issue in our country, and it’s happening right here in Northeast Georgia––right in our own homes and families.

Medications are prescribed for more conditions now than ever before, and many of these medications are intended to treat pain and depression. The potency of these drugs can lead to addiction on its own, but common practices  increase the risk of abuse through our “pill for every ill” mentality, misperceptions about drug safety, and the availability of these drugs.

Accidental fatal drug overdoses have soared by 500 percent since 1990, with prescription painkillers largely to blame. The rate of fatal overdose among 15- to 24-year-olds has spiked 300 percent in recent years. Three in five teens claim they have easy access to the medications in their own home medicine cabinets.

Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs are:

• Opioids such as Vicodin and Percocet, prescribed to relieve pain;
• Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants such as Valium and Xanax, prescribed to treat anxiety disorders or Ambien and Lunesta, prescribed to treat sleep disorders; and
• Stimulants, like Adderall and Ritalin, prescribed for ADHD, narcolepsy and depression.

Morton Vardeman & Carlson is working with the Medical Association of Georgia’s “Think About It Campaign” to spread the word about prescription drug abuse. Recently, the design team at MVC created handouts for pharmacies to include in prescription bags and for physicians to have available at their counters, and we are working on posters to display in doctor’s offices throughout the state.

For more information about the “Think About It Campaign, visit