Friday, February 10, 2012

Generation Rx

I was at a conference in Austin last week and one of the panelists, Stuart Colburn (attorney at Downs and Stanford, P.C.), mentioned the concept of “Generation Rx”.  I have obviously heard of Gen-X and Gen-Y, but not Gen-Rx and it piqued my interest.  For those of us concerned about our country’s significant issue with prescription drug over-utilization, the term is likely self-defining.  We are raising a generation that look at prescription drugs (theirs or others) as a legitimate solution for their problems, and for those wanting to escape reality as a cheaper and more accessible alternative (or in addition) to illicit drugs and alcohol.  Some interesting tidbits:
  • The “Vegas Cocktail” is a combination of Soma/Carisoprodol and Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (Vicodin).  The “Soma Coma” is a combination of Soma and Codeine.  Both produce a euphoric effect, are addictive, and the combination can cost less than $100 per month.  The US Department of Justice has a nice overview which states 2,276,000 U.S. residents aged 12 and older used Soma non-medically at least once in their lifetime.  These combinations of drugs are in our “trigger list” for when a clinical evaluation is appropriate.
  • A “Pharm Party” is where people get together and the price of admission is a bottle of prescription drugs, which are mixed in a bowl and randomly ingested by the participants.  There is some dispute how prevalent this is or even if it’s a media invention, but a 2006 Monitoring the Future study shows that prescription drug use among teenagers is second only to marijuana and is second to none among 12- and 13- year olds (think about that for a moment).  In addition, Partnership for a Drug-Free America found that 62% of teenagers say that prescription pain relievers are easy to get from their parent’s medicine cabinet.   These and other sobering statistics can be found at the Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base.
  • The Ohio State University School of Pharmacy feels so strongly about the issue that they’ve consolidated resources on prescription drug abuse by Generation Rx.
This reinforces the fact that our issue in Work Comp is just a microcosm of the U.S. society in general (which is why the CDC labels it an epidemic with 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008 from prescription painkillers), and one cannot be fixed without the other.  It is also convicting that responsible adults need to better manage (i.e. protect) their legitimate uses of prescription drugs to reduce the number of new entrants to Generation Rx.

In this together – Mark

On Twitter @PRIUM1

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