Healthy People Taylor County

Healthy People Taylor County

A Community Health Plan

Alcohol & Other Substance Use & Addiction

Background

Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and is a risk factor for many health and societal problems. Alcohol use is very common in our society. Drinking alcohol has immediate effects that can increase the risk of many harmful health conditions.

Alcohol & Other Substance Use & Addiction in Taylor County, WisconsinThese immediate effects are most often the result of binge drinking. These effects can be unintentional injuries (traffic injuries, falls, drowning, burns, firearm injuries), violence (partner violence and child maltreatment), and alcohol poisoning. In addition, risky sexual behaviors associated with binge drinking can lead to unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and increase risk of sexual assault, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases. Pregnancies exposed to frequent binge drinking can lead to miscarriages, stillbirth and a combination of physical and mental birth defects among children that last throughout life.

The long term health effects of excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems including dementia, stroke, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, psychiatric problems (depression, anxiety, and suicide), social problems (unemployment, lost productivity, family problems), cancer (mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, breast), liver disease, and gastrointestinal problems. Additionally, drinking can cause short-term effects including headache, body aches, fatigue, nausea, and dehydration.

On March 6, 2007, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office appealed to Americans to do more to stop America’s 11 million current underage drinkers from using alcohol, and to keep other young people from starting. Acting Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu, M.D., M.P.H., laid out recommendations for government and school officials, parents, other adults and the young people. “Too many Americans consider underage drinking a rite of passage to adulthood,” said Dr. Moritsugu. “Research shows that young people who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems later in life. New research also indicates that alcohol may harm the developing adolescent brain. The availability of this research provides more reasons than ever before for parents and other adults to protect the health and safety of our nation’s children.”

The impact of drug addiction can be far reaching as well. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and lung disease can all be affected by drug abuse. Some of these effects occur when drugs are used at high doses or after prolonged use; however, some may occur after just one use. Drug addiction is a brain disease. Although initial drug use might be voluntary, drugs of abuse have been shown to alter gene expression and brain circuitry, which in turn affect human behavior. Once addiction develops, these brain changes interfere with an individual’s ability to make voluntary decisions, leading to compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use.

Drug abuse is a serious public health problem that affects almost every community and family in some way. Each year drug abuse results in around 40 million serious illnesses or injuries among people in the United States. Drug abuse also plays a role in many major social problems, such as drugged driving, violence, stress, and child abuse. Drug abuse can lead to homelessness, crime and missed work or problems with keeping a job. It harms unborn babies and destroys families. There are different types of treatment for drug abuse. However, the best is to prevent drug abuse in the first place.

The proper disposal of prescription drugs is an increasing concern in our society. Studies have shown that pharmaceuticals are present in our nation’s water sources. Further research suggests that certain drugs may cause ecological harm. The traditional advice has been to flush unused drugs down the toilet or put them in the trash. Neither is a good method. Drugs can kill helpful bacteria in septic systems and pass largely untouched through sewage treatment plants. Children and animals can get into drugs tossed in the trash, and once in landfills, drugs can trickle into groundwater. Additionally, trends show that although teens are turning away from street drugs, they now are abusing prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. This includes painkillers, such as those drugs prescribed after surgery; depressants, such as sleeping pills or anti-anxiety drugs; and stimulants, such as those drugs prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Teens are also abusing over-the-counter drugs, such as cough and cold remedies. Parents and caregivers are the first line of defense in addressing the troubling trend of prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse.

Prescription drug addiction in Taylor County, WisconsinIn the Unites States, every day 2,500 youth 12 to 17 years of age abuse a pain reliever for the very first time. More teens abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana. In 2006, more than 2.1 million teens ages 12 to 17 reported abusing prescription drugs. Among 12- and 13-year-olds, prescription drugs are the drug of choice. Because these drugs are so readily available, and many teens believe they are a safe way to get high, teens, who wouldn’t otherwise touch illicit drugs, might abuse prescription drugs. Moreover, not many parents are talking to them about it, even though teens report that parental disapproval is a powerful way to keep them away from drugs. There are serious health risks related to abuse of prescription drugs. A single large dose of prescription or over-the-counter painkillers or depressants can cause breathing difficulty that can lead to death. Stimulant abuse can lead to hostility or paranoia, or the potential for heart system failure or fatal seizures. Even in small doses, depressants and painkillers have subtle effects on motor skills, judgment, and ability to learn. The abuse of over-the-counter cough and cold remedies can cause blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, coma, and even death. Many teens report mixing prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and alcohol. Using these drugs in combination can cause respiratory failure and death. Prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse is addictive. Nationally, between 1995 and 2005, treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent. The prevalence of prescription drug abuse among teens and young adults has increased and now ranks second behind marijuana as the most prevalent illegal drug problem in the US. New abusers of prescription drugs have also caught up with the number of new users of marijuana, the reason being the relative ease of access to prescription drugs. There is a need to promote awareness of the risks associated with using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes and the need for adults to strictly control access to pharmaceuticals within their homes. Approximately 60% of prescription pain killer abusers indicate that their drugs came from a friend or relative for free.

Data

Healthy People Taylor County Priority Three Data Healthy People Taylor County Priority Three Data

Healthy People Taylor County Priority Three Data Healthy People Taylor County Priority Three Data

According to reports from Taylor County law enforcement:

  • During 2002-2006, there was an average of 37.4 juvenile arrests for liquor law violations in Taylor County.
  • During 2002-2006, there was an average of 4.6 juvenile arrests for operating while intoxicated in Taylor County.
  • In 2007, the Taylor County Health Department surveyed over 780 residents for their opinions on health conditions and health priorities that have an impact on their lives.
  • 81 % of those residents agreed with the statement “People in Taylor County drink alcoholic beverages more than they should.”
  • 85 % of those residents agreed with the statement “People in Taylor County are affected by drug use or abuse.”

Objectives

Focus Areas: Healthier behaviors related to alcohol and prescription drugs and the elimination of illicit drugs.

Primary Goals:

  • Assure pharmacy patrons receive information about prescription drugs, including side effects, appropriate methods for disposal and subsequently eliminate the improper disposal of prescription drugs in Taylor County.
  • Eliminate the use of alcohol and other drugs by Taylor County youth.
  • Eliminate the use of illicit drugs by Taylor County residents.
  • Eliminate injuries and deaths to Taylor County residents from drinking and driving.

Objective #1: By December 31, 2013, increase the number of prescription and other pharmaceutical drug disposal options.

Baseline: New Initiative

OUTCOMES INCLUDE:

By December 31, 2009

  • Support the statewide registry database for controlled substances.
  • Collaborate with community partners to increase the number of pharmaceutical drug disposal options.
  • Establish a baseline of the number of current pharmaceutical drug disposal options.
  • Assess what policy and practices hospitals, clinics and pharmacies have in place for drug disposal.

By December 31, 2011

  • Identify and develop programs on the importance of the proper disposal of prescription drugs to disseminate through pharmacies.
  • Identify and develop programs on the proper disposal of prescription drugs for nursing homes, health care providers, and the public.

By December 31, 2013

  • Implement and promote programs on the importance of the proper disposal of prescription drugs to disseminate through pharmacies.
  • Implement and promote programs on the proper disposal of prescription drugs for nursing homes, health care providers, and the public.

Objective #2: By December 31, 2013, all retail alcohol outlets will participate in keg registration.

Baseline: New Initiative

Keg registration is Taylor County, WisconsinOUTCOMES INCLUDE:

By December 31, 2009:

  • Identify establishments with a license for retail sale of alcohol.

By December 31, 2011:

  • Identify and develop programs for community support for keg registration.
  • Identify community partners (i.e. retail alcohol outlet establishments, law enforcement, schools), willing to develop programs on the need for keg registration and the importance of eliminating alcohol use by underage drinkers.
  • Identify and develop a model ordinance for keg registration.

By December 31, 2013:

  • Implement and promote programs for community support for keg registration.
  • Convene community partners (i.e. liquor storeowners, law enforcement, schools), to implement and promote programs on the need for keg registration and the importance of eliminating alcohol use by underage drinkers.
  • Promote passage of a model ordinance for keg registration.

Objective #3: By December 31, 2013, decrease the number of Taylor County residents arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI), and illicit drug use.

Baseline: Between 2002-2006, there was an average of 34.6 arrests for drug sales and possession in Taylor County.

Between 2002-2006, there was an average of 131.2 arrests for operating while intoxicated.

OUTCOMES INCLUDE:

By December 31, 2013:

  • Taylor County schools will participate in the Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey to establish a baseline for reported youth alcohol and other drug abuse.

OUTCOMES FOR ALCOHOL INCLUDE:

By December 31, 2010:

  • Identify and develop programs designed for parents about the consequences of underage drinking and operating while intoxicated.
  • Identify and develop guidelines for alcohol-free events (i.e. post-prom parties, lock-ins).
  • Identify and develop programs on social drinking (i.e. how much is too much, the effects of alcohol on your health, and the hazards of alcohol for the aging population).
  • Identify and develop programs for groups serving alcohol at festivals and fundraisers.
  • Identify and promote evidence-based school prevention programs.

Alcohol related drunk driving accident in Wisconsin

By December 31, 2012:

  • Implement and promote programs designed for parents about the consequences of underage drinking and operating while intoxicated.
  • Implement and promote guidelines for alcohol-free events (i.e. post-prom parties, lock-ins).
  • Implement and promote programs on social drinking (i.e. how much is too much, the effects of alcohol on your health, and the use of alcohol for the elderly population.)
  • Implement and promote programs for groups serving alcohol at festivals and fundraisers.
  • Implement and promote evidence-based school prevention programs.

By December 31, 2013:

  • Explore “Safe-Ride-Home” options.
  • Identify and develop designated driver programs and encourage taverns to offer free soda to designated drivers.
  • Identify and develop sources that will provide funding for alcohol education and surveillance (i.e. court system, community based organizations, school based organizations, service clubs).

OUTCOMES FOR DRUG USE INCLUDE:

By December 31, 2010:

  • Identify and develop programs related to the prevention of illegal drug use targeting youth as well as adults (i.e. misuse of prescription drugs for the elderly, use of marijuana).
  • Identify and develop programs to help parents and caregivers identify drugs their children use.
  • Identify and develop programs on the proper use and the hazards of abuse of prescription drugs for the elderly population.
  • Identify community partners to engage in the development of programs for identified child abusers who also use drugs.
  • Identify organizations that offer treatment options for drug abusers.
  • Identify and develop sources that will provide funding for drug abuse programs (i.e. court system, community based organizations, school based organizations, service clubs).

By December 31, 2012:

  • Implement and promote programs related to the prevention of illegal drug use targeting youth and adults (i.e. misuse of prescription drugs for the elderly, use of marijuana).
  • Implement and promote programs to help parents and caregivers identify drugs their children use.
  • Implement and promote programs on the proper use and the hazards in abuse of prescription drugs for the elderly population.
  • Convene community partners to engage in the implementation of programs for identified child abusers who also use drugs.

By December 31, 2013:

  • Convene organizations that offer treatment options for drug abusers and explore strategies to provide better continuity of service.
  • Identify and develop sources that will provide funding for drug abuse programs (i.e. court system, community based organizations, school based organizations, service clubs).