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My Turn: A questionable leap in prescription drug debate

It’s incredibly disappointing to read the conclusions drawn by New Hampshire lawmakers about drug abuse from relatively benign statistics on legitimate opiate and benzodiazepine prescriptions (Monitor front page, July 16).

The illogical jumps from legitimate prescriptions, to drug abuse, to using heroin is alarming, to say the least. Once again, lawmakers are intruding between people and their doctors. There are a plethora of conditions that necessitate choices doctors make when prescribing appropriate medicine: Benzos, for example, don’t worsen heart conditions where less addictive medicines can have dire effect.

After working in the recycling/solid waste industry in New Hampshire for eight years, I can pinpoint for Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Gov. Maggie Hassan exactly where they should concentrate their efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse, and it’s not by writing letters to health professionals or micro-managing the prescription pad: Better fund, better publicize and vehemently encourage local police departments to participate in unwanted prescription drug collection events.

I can’t tell you how many residents have come to the recycling facility I manage with unwanted prescription drugs, trying to find a way to properly and safely discard them. Collection events are few and far between, and some towns don’t participate at all, forcing older residents to drive through two or more towns for one four-hour event per year just to get rid of prescriptions they no longer want or need. And where do abusers often find drugs? In medicine cabinets of relatives and neighbors!

Make it easy for law-abiding citizens to safely and effectively dispose of the drugs without contaminating our air and groundwater supplies, close the loop on prescription drugs before abusers even have a chance to get their hands on them instead of penalizing those who have legally obtained prescriptions from informed medical professionals.

(Adrienne M. Hutchinson lives in Canterbury.)

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