To the Editor:

Did you know more Americans now die from drug overdoses than car crashes? It is a startling and deadly statistic. Of these deaths, 60 percent were due to the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs – making them more deadly than illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Iowa is not immune to this trend. Improper use of prescription medicines is the fastest-growing form of substance abuse in Iowa.

During the last decade, the number of Iowans age 12 or older treated for prescription painkiller abuse has increased 250 percent, and overdoses due to pain medicines such as Oxycontin have increased 1,200 percent.

Why are Iowa teens misusing and abusing prescription drugs? According to the 2012 national PATS study, teens are more apt to abuse prescription medicines than illicit drugs for a few reasons. Only 14 percent of parents warn teens about prescription drugs when they have “the alcohol and drug talk.” And, four in 10 teens who have misused or abused prescription drugs say they took them from their parent’s medicine cabinet.

Iowa Medicine TLC is a new kind of “TLC” I encourage all parents to give their teens. Iowa Medicine TLC stands for Talk, Lock and Connect.

Talk to your teens about the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter drug misuse and abuse. Lock up these medicines and properly dispose of them. Connect with the Iowa Substance Abuse Information Center (ISAIC) at, or call 866-242-4111, to learn how you can help prevent prescription drug misuse and abuse.

Emily Blomme, Program Manager

Iowa Substance Abuse Information Center

Cedar Rapids, Iowa