Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Prescription Drug Abuse Rampant

Addiction is addiction. Whether the drugs are prescribed from a legal doctor or the one dealing off the street corner.

Abuse of prescription medications is rampant - reaching literally every corner of the country, according to data compiled by Denver Health's nationwide surveillance system.

The system analyzed reports of drug abuse and found that incidents involving prescriptions for opioids - a class of pain-relieving drugs that includes Percocet, OxyContin, Vicodin and Dilaudid - occurred in 93 percent of the nation's postal-code regions.

"The really important thing to understand as a parent is every place - in every town, every county in the U.S. - has prescription-drug abuse occurring," said Dr. Richard Dart, director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, a part of Denver Health.

The findings follow a 2005 federal report that found prescription-drug abuse increased 42.5 percent nationwide between 2001 and 2005.

That report, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said that in 2005, 11.4 million people had abused prescription drugs in the past 12 months, up from 8 million in 2001.
Dart said contracts with private buyers of the data prohibit the release of specific age and regional information.
He did say people between 20 and 30 years old account for the greatest share of prescription-drug abuse.
Typically, teenagers start out by snatching the pills from their parents' medicine cabinets, Dart said.


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