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Do Now

Why do you think prescription painkiller abuse is more of a problem in certain areas? What does prescription drug abuse look like where you live? What do you think could be done to address the problem?


The deaths of actors like Cory Monteith from Glee and more recently Philip Seymour Hoffman, have brought attention to a surge in heroin use and overdose deaths. After more than 20 years of sobriety, Hoffman reportedly began using heroin last year following a bout of abusing prescription drugs. The transition between prescription pill abuse and heroin is a problem addiction specialists have been focused on for years.

In New York City, the prescription painkiller abuse rates aren’t as high as the rest of the country — except on Staten Island, where their impact is wide and deep. The city’s health department says three times more people overdose from painkillers there than in the rest of the city. Radio Rookie Tasina Berkey set out to find out why Staten Island is struggling.

Prescription painkillers are often referred to as “blues” because the most popular pills come as little blue tablets. A group of Staten Island rappers wrote My World is Blue to show how teenagers get access to prescription pills.

Tasina interviewed a drug treatment counselor about why blues have become such a problem. He told her that people often justify using them because they assume they’re safe: “they’re manufactured in the United States, prescribed by doctors, and distributed by pharmacies.” Unlike street drugs more than three out of four people who abuse painkillers get them from someone who has a prescription from a doctor to take them.

Tasina found out that, increasingly, what comes next for some users is heroin. Why? Because it’s cheaper.


WNYC’s Radio Rookies radio segment Why Is Staten Island NYC’s OD Capital?
The death on Sunday of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has brought attention to a surge in heroin use and overdose deaths. After more than 20 years of sobriety, Hoffman reportedly began using heroin last year following a bout of abusing prescription drugs. The transition between prescription pill abuse and heroin is a problem addiction specialists have been focused on for years.

To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #DoNowPills

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to reply to other people’s tweets to foster more of a conversation. Also, if students tweet their personal opinions, ask them to support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets. You can visit our video tutorials that showcase how to use several web-based production tools. Of course, do as you can… and any contribution is most welcomed.

More Resources

Wash. Post article Missed Signs of Prescription Drug Crackdown’s Effect on Heroin Use
From the beginning, the U.S. government’s decade-long crackdown on prescription drug abuse has run an unsettling risk: that arresting doctors and shuttering “pill mills” would inadvertently fuel a new epidemic of heroin use.

White Trash Clan music video My World Is Blue – White Trash Clan Official Video
Here is a music video by a group of Staten Island rappers that shows how teenagers get access to prescription pills. This is the first video off the White Trash LP. White Trash does not encourage the use of drugs.

NPR radio segment When A Prescription For Pain Pills Becomes A Gateway To Addiction
A person’s first exposure to narcotics can be in the emergency room. Well-intentioned doctors aimed to take away pain, not knowing the consequences that could follow. Here’s a story that speaks to this issue.

This post was written by Courtney Stein who is an Associate Producer at WNYC’s Radio Rookies, where she teaches radio and multimedia production skills to teenagers in all five boroughs of NYC. Over the past six years she’s produced award-winning stories about issues like growing up in the foster care system, policing in public housing, and the realities of sexual cyberbullying for air on WNYC. This year Courtney produced a series of animated DIY videos that teach young people and educators to make their own media.

Is Prescription Drug Abuse a Big Concern? 8 March,2017Matthew Williams

  • T.J.

    I don’t understand why people do drug its so many things you can do instead of drug

    • Tanya

      I think that a lot of people try them because they are pressured too, and they don´t know what they can do to their lives. Then, once they try them, they can´t stop taking them.

  • Breanna R

    I think painkillers are more of a problem because they are more easy to get a hand on than drugs , I know someone who uses painkilllers to have suicide , the PARENTS should take the responsibility and put the pills away and to use them as a responsible parent and put them away where kids can’t get their hands on

  • fgsvbg espinola

    well I don’t think a lot of the people who are prescribed pills even need it. I think really if you want to blame someone it would be the pharmacist they give the pills out like there candy they really need to think “does this person really need it” or ” they don’t really look that sick ” so maybe if they really think that over with maybe we wont be having that problem.

    • Lea

      Why would you blame the pharmacist when their job is to follow the prescription the doctor provides for the patient? They are not passing it out like candy and they don’t think if the person looks like they need it or not. If they don’t follow instructions, then they are not doing their job.

  • A. Hall

    Its a huge issue because doctors make a lot of money off them and people never think they’re addicted. People are constantly taking them because they think its just stopping pains. But no longer do they know its messing up their bodies like drugs always do . For example , meth messes up your body , makes you scratch yourself , constantly moving. Teens will take them from parents share them with friends thinking the are just getting high. I think prescription painkillers should banned because of drug abuse.

  • Trong Y

    Pharmacists may prescribe people drugs, but the drugs they prescribed are what the patients need. I’m not saying that this is a good thing but some people really do need these. To fix this problem, I would maybe prescribe little drugs at a time.

    • Derek Bice

      Pharmacists do not prescribe the drugs. The doctor prescribes the drugs, and the pharmacists dispense them. They may advise the doctor, but ultimately it is the doctor’s decision. I do agree that something should be done, but prescribing them a little at a time really isn’t a solution. There isn’t much that can be done really. The doctor shouldn’t have to monitor the patient taking their drugs, the patient should be the responsible one and take their prescriptions in moderation. I realize that sometimes when people get a temporary prescription, like something after a surgery, they are usually given way too many drugs, so they end up recovering from the surgery with leftover drugs, so maybe doctors should stop giving them so many drugs.

  • A. Hall

    I believe that certain area have an easier access to prescribed painkillers.. I don’t think that doctors should prescribe painkillers to patients if they suspect that their using them for different reasons rather then the reason they are attended for… Painkillers could end someone’s life suddenly or could cause people to be drug addicts…

    • E C

      It’s hard to tell if people are going to use it for a different reason. I agree that pain killers can cause a life to end.

  • fgsvbg espinola

    I think it’s irresponsible for parents to leave their medication out for teen to get a had of it’s easy for teens these days to get carry away from them, teens can overdose on it or whatever to cause serious damage
    From Jessica

    • Tanya

      It’s kinda hard to keeps things out of teens reach, and stuff like that. Teens can just walk down to the store and buy them. I think that it’s more important for the parents to educate the teens, talk about proper doses and stuff, and what can happen if they take too much. This will make the teens not want to take them, rather than try to hold them back from the teen.

      • KshitijK_2BoydBence

        I agree, if parents would talk to their teens, it can help most likely.

      • corrina cowden

        @KQEDedspace even when parents sit down and talk to there child about over dosing and they say i wont do that don’t worry they still might. sometimes they don’t think they just go with how they feel and do what their friends do because they think its cool. #DoNowPills #davisss

      • dwiltse96

        You are wrong you cannot get prescription pain killers from
        the store you to be prescribed them by a doctor. You can get things like
        Tylenol from the store but those sorts of things are not addicting or as
        dangerous as painkillers that are prescribed to someone. As a teen you can buy
        many kinds of medicines from the store but this article is about prescription
        pain killers and not things that you can but from the store. I would have to say that teens and drugs are a
        huge problem in the united states but really the only thing to do is hope that
        parents will be responsible with these sorts of drugs so that their kids will
        not be tempted to take them or even just hide them so that their kids will not
        even know that they have them.

    • Tateeana Ibarra

      Even if a parent doesn’t leave them out and even try’s to hide them the person could still search and look for the pills. Once someone is addicted to something they will do anything and everything to get it. They will stop at nothing to get the drug they long for. So basically even if you try to hide it if a person really wants it they will find it.

  • yes i think this is a huge problem getting drugs is getting way too easy for kids now a days,the little safety cap just isn’t doing the trick anymore… are evolving getting smarter…THEY MUST BE STOPPED!!!

    • swannigan Christian

      Yes I feel like a more advance security system on pill bottles should be invented

  • swannigan Christian

    I think yes for the sake of children who’s parents use prescription drugs to abuse themselves BC its definitely hard growing up with a parent addicted to prescription drugs

  • Tanya

    I think that like all drugs, abusing painkillers can be kind of a ‘go with the crowd’ kind of thing. Teenagers see their friends doing it, and think that it’s cool and nice, so they do it too. This makes is so that if one person abuses painkillers in an area, and teenagers and people don’t see how it is wrong and damaging, then the whole area starts to abuse them. I don’t think that there is much of a problem of abusing painkillers in my area, but there are some people that don’t know how much they should take and they take them too much, or too often. Something that could help this is if there were fliers talking about what painkillers do, and what they do if people take them too much. The fliers also could have the proper doses of popular painkillers on them, and how many you can take in a day.

    • KshitijK_2BoydBence

      I think you are right that teens start it because they see their friends or because they think it won’t harm them because it is not like if it is cocain or heroin. But fliers are not the solution. I think there should be a program that every school should have to explain the dangers. My school had one but not every school has one, so they should start.

    • JimmyT

      I agree with you Tanya, and i think students should receive their health education at middle school, so they will be more aware of the painkillers and the other drugs.

  • Tateeana Ibarra

    Yes I agree that doctors should not give people the prescription if they suspect anything. But how are the doctors supposed to know?? They can’t just go around accusing people of miss using it, because what if that person really isn’t?? So then the doctor could get into trouble. But yes I do think that prescription drug abuse is a big concern and something should be done about it. But how??

  • E C

    Drugs are now easily accessible. If drugs get in the hands of kids, they will overdose. Drugs are dangerous and they should have stricter laws on who can get drugs.

  • Lea

    If prescription drugs is really a concern, the state government would have had laws enforced as to who are allowed to have drugs. Yes, people are allowed to get prescription drugs for their families, but you won’t know what they plan to use it for, either for their families or themselves. It is hard to prevent something that may happen when you don’t know people’s incentives for the use of drugs.

    • Lindsay Tong

      I agree; it is hard to regulate this problem if there aren’t any restrictions. Everybody has different intentions, whether it be using the drugs to become healthy or abuse it to cause harm. I believe the government should get involved some how before the problem gets even worse.

  • Paula Mir

    I feel like prescription drugs are very easy to get and that is one of the main reasons why people are getting access to them in such quantities. People taking these pills most likely have a mental illness and need to cope, but the only way they find to cope is by taking these prescription drugs when not prescribed to them.

    • KshitijK_2BoydBence

      I agree with you 110% prescription drugs are fairly easy to get. It is very common people lie to get the prescription so they can take them and many times the doctor is fooled.

    • corrina cowden

      @KQEDedspace i agree most people do have mental illness and that is why the over dose. it could also be how they live and who they live with. I also think that parents should lock up their prescription drugs so that young children cant get into them. #DoNowPills #davisss

  • KshitijK_2BoydBence

    I think the reason people do prescription drugs is because they think since they are used as medicine, it won’t harm anyone, but they are very wrong. I have taken many painkillers and other prescription drugs because of sicknesses and while I needed them to get better, i would also feel them messing with my body, so someone taking them for no reason must have it much worse. The number for drugs killing is really high now too. Prescription drugs are just as bad as other drugs!

  • Sierra Spring

    I think that the reason why these people choose to do prescription drugs, is because it’s a lot easier to get, and it has to be easier to hide than other drugs. They give you the same high and kick as some other drugs, but when you get pulled over and a cop catches you with some pills, he can’t really do anything about it. They all probably know what they’re doing to themselves, but just like any other drug abuser, they don’t care. I think it’s really sad that so many young people can get that stuff so easily.

  • Lindsay Tong

    Prescription painkiller abuse is more effective in certain areas because some communities aren’t as strict or watchful as others. Anyone can access over-the-counter drugs and no one gets tracked for using them; people have the freedom to abuse it. There is also the freedom to share or distribute these drugs to anybody without being caught. The problem is that there is no regulation of prescription drugs. In my community, there are not many problems with drug abuse but, I do know there are people out there who are continuing to do it. I think there should be some restriction or redesigned process to receiving these drugs. I know the efficient accessibility of pharmacy drugs is one of its main purpose. But if people are just going to abuse this process there should not be this freedom. I also think there should be set schedules to receiving the drug or monthly check-ins; some way to regulate and make sure people are doing the right thing.


    People suffer problems from prescription drugs because they are more easily obtained as opposed to illegal drugs. In my area seeing people get high off drugs is a common occurrence, to the point where the use of drugs not only leads to addiction, but litter as well with discarded drug bottles and syringes laying around. One option to curb prescription drugs is to limit the amount of bottles one can prescribe or something similar.

  • Shirley Mei

    Prescription drug abuse is more common in some areas because it is sometimes even easier to obtain than illegal substances. Nearly every family has a bottle of prescription drugs lying around in the house. Because of this, family members can easily access these highly addictive drugs and abuse it.

  • Nikki J.

    Prescription drugs are much easier to get than lets say, heroin. If you’re sick, you’re doctor will usually prescribe you something. Even if you tell you’re doctor you aren’t feeling well, you can obtain the drugs easier because your doctor says you have to take them. In areas where there are wealthier people living, they don’t want to gain a reputation of drug abuse so it’s more practical for them to just abuse the prescription drugs that they are “supposed” to take. To address the problem, I think doctors need to be more strict on who they prescribe to and what they are prescribing. People need to become educated on what medication can become addictive so they can be more cautious. Often time kids will find pill bottles around the house and use those so medication should always be hidden from prying hands. In Utah, we have one of the highest rates of people who abuse prescription drugs. This is a fairly wealthy white state and so we see more drug abuse within “stable” families who are using more than what they should be using. It’s fairly easy to become addicted and that’s whats happening with people who take a few of these pills to “relax”.

  • Francesca Botto

    I think painkiller abuse is more of a problem in certain areas because of the ability to access it. In Staten Island pain killers are in abundance, and because it’s popular with so many people, ages ranging 11 to more than 40, it has become “the thing” to do. Where I live drug abuse is definitely prevalent. There is certainly talk around the school about the usage of drugs and who does what. However, I think that other drugs are more popular than “the blues” of Staten Island. I think it is difficult to address the problem successfully. There are assemblies that speak to students about the abuse of drugs, but convincing a large number of rebellious teens to change their ways of having fun, is an overwhelming task to take on. The best thing to do is educate about what can occur, and if that fails drug test students.

    • John Diep

      Hey Francesca, I totally agree with your idea that the prescription drugs are effecting our youth and something must be done about it!

  • Caroline P

    I live in Utah, one of the top prescription abuse states in the United States. A troubling trend seen in Utah is the rising number of junior high and high school students who don’t perceive prescription drugs as “dangerous” due to the fact that they are not produced on the street, as many popular drugs are. The easy access to prescription drugs is also alarming. A 13 year old boy can open his grandmother’s medicine cabinet and steal a couple pills without anyone noticing. To address this problem, schools need to acknowledge prescription drugs as though they are equal to street drugs. My middle school, as well as my high school, focused heavily on the consequences of drugs such as heroine, meth, etc, but lightly touched on the subject of prescription drugs. Because kids view them as “safer” they are more willing to abuse them. Pharmacists and doctors need to be more reluctant in providing prescription drugs, and more aware of the characteristics of a prescription drug abuser.

    • william bright

      @KQEDedspace, yeah i agree that little kids or anyone shouldn’t be able to access these prescription painkillers anywhere at anytime but they should also just make the bottles a little safer too.#DoNowPills#davisss

  • Maliha M

    “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. ” ( This is bigger than a concern. Drug abuse is sweeping over the continent and is threatening lives, some that haven’t even started. The fact that babies are born addicted to a drug they have never had the option to refuse is disgusting. Even the baby’s mother does not have the right to decide the future for this baby if they are addicted to prescription medicine, because that shows they are unstable and unable to make sensible decisions. We seriously need to monitor pills more than ever. I had no idea about this movement in stanton island and honestly it scares me. Where will be infected with this fad next? Utah for instance is known for wealthy families, with members who are highly addicted to drugs. We are a pretty conservative state. I have not yet seen a HUGE move to limit the deaths and overdoses caused by pill popping. Which needs to be done, pronto.

  • Jae Hun

    I guess if people around you do it, you tend to do it too, even though you know it is illegal. Not a lot of my friends use the pain killer, but I see it sometimes in downtown. I believe that pharmacist could checks more often whether a person needs painkiller or not.

    • Olivia

      I agree, but pharmacists really have no way of knowing if a patient legitimately needs the prescription or not.

  • Alex M

    Painkillers are just too easy to access, wether stolen from a family member or friend, or actually prescribed. When the price of pills bought on the street, say 20-30 dollars a pill, gets too much, they move to heroin, which is cheaper, yet far worse. Because prescription drugs are so easy to access, they are the go-to drugs for many teens, as well as the fact that they have a mindset of medicine not being dangerous. Prescriptions need to be monitored far better than they are now, in all places.

    • Rosa Chea

      Alex, I agree with you. I believe that people and many teens as well use prescription drugs as an easy way to access to. They mostly steal pills from their family member which is bad. Teens are willing to do anything crazy especially with drugs.

  • Daniel Voytovich

    Like Caroline, I am also from Utah and was recently speaking to a cop about what is a problem in Utah. The cop informed me that Heroin has become a huge problem in Utah, mostly due to the fact that doctors prescribe so many painkillers after a surgery. The patients who are recovering from the surgery will tend to either use all the prescription and then become dependent on the pills, or they will sell the pills after using a few and someone else will become addicted to the pills. When the pills run dry, and the person on pills has no more pills to use they will turn to heroin. This has become a problem even in Utah’s High Schools. “Blues” are not just a problem on Staten Island.

  • William Cisneros

    A lot of the problem lies with the doctors. Last summer, when I had my wisdom teeth out I was prescribed Lorotab. But to my surprise the prescription consisted of 50 individual pills. Luckily my parents kept me on track with taking the pills at the right times, but I only used 5 pills. Prescriptions for painkillers need to observed with more attention.

  • Fiona Boomer

    Prescription drug abuse has definitely become a huge problem among young people, especially in suburbia. It is an epidemic. It is an issue that is greatly under the radar in that it affects a population of teens that seem to have everything going for them. They are affluent and educated, completely breaking the stereotype that drug abuse is popular among poor teens in urban areas. I have personally been affected this epidemic. A member of my family fell into this exact trap. He first starting using in high school with his friends. It became more of a problem as he entered college in Atlantic City, NJ. It was utterly awful to watch. His parents could not bring themselves to believe that he was addicted. He was very bright and never seemed like someone who would become involved with drugs like oxycontin. He is now in rehabilitation programs in Florida. His life has been completely changed and he had no control over it. The idea that a certain type of person would fall victim prescription drug abuse should be broken. It can happen to anyone and it can ruin lives.

  • adugan

    I think prescription drug abuse is a very concerning issue, among teenagers as well as adults. To combat it, we must go to the root of the problem – the practice of prescribing patients a large amount of pain pills after a surgery. My sister recently had her wisdom teeth removed and was given a full bottle of Lora-tab. She never needed any and my mom took them to the drop off at a pharmacy because she didn’t want them in our house. But many people wouldn’t do this. Why does a teenager need two weeks worth of Lora-tab for a minor surgery in which you are back to normal after, on average, three days. Just because the pharmaceutical companies give bonuses to doctors who prescribe their pain pills does not mean we, as patients, should support this system.

    • william bright

      @KQEDedspace, yeah i agree that doctors sometimes give more painkillers than needed or at times when they aren’t needed thats a big part of this prescription painkiller abuse.#DoNowPills#davisss

  • davidjenny

    In utah heroin is starting to become a bigger and bigger problem very year. In my summer job I worked in a Salt Lake apartment home as a maintenance man. Every morning I’d find bottles of pills needles on the street corners. Usually I’d try to settle family disputes, that once in awhile would end in a phone call to the police. Usually these familys’ arguments would

  • Nick M

    Prescription Painkiller abuse is most frightening because it isn’t confined to a specific social class or type of community. Everyone, poor, middle-class, or rich abuses drugs. But most alarming is how the US compares to the rest of the world. “” presents a series of alarming statistics: “Every day in the US, 2,500 youth (12 to 17) abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.” And most alarming: “In 2007, the Drug Enforcement Administration found that abuse of the painkiller Fentanyl killed more than 1,000 people that year in the US. It is thirty to fifty times more powerful than heroin.” Painkillers are a serious problem. that is very difficult to solve.

  • Jackie Morgan

    In some ways, the prescription drug abuse is surprising, but in many ways it is not. Doctors prescribe 50 or more pain pills for minor surgeries so patients don’t call asking for more, leaving leftover pain killers in many households. When I recently had my tonsils out, I was prescribed 100 pain pills, only using about half of them. If parents don’t take the precaution to dispose of the pills properly, pain killers are easily accessible for misuse. Then when pills run out or they don’t give a good enough high, they move to riskier drugs like heroin. The problem lies in the doctors prescribing too many pills and people think because a doctor gave them the pills, that they should take them, many times unnecessarily and leading to addiction. As more and more people become addicted, younger generations catch on and prescription pills are misused more often.

  • Abbie M.

    Utah has the eighth highest drug overdose mortality in the United State, so it is constantly prevalent in my community. The accessibility to prescription drugs allows for more and more people to become hooked- getting a full bottle of Lorotab after wisdom teeth surgery is outrageous; put some ice on your walnut cheeks and you’ll be golden. I think it is so readily present in my community especially because I am in the middle of a wealthier middle class demographic going to a private school in the city, and I know a lot of students who live in Suburbs where they are even more common. It is sad that at seventeen I have been to parties where there are prescription pills. The base problem is doctors prescribing outrageous amounts of pain killers- doses and actual pills. Also, our society has a psychological attachment to always needing a fast remedy to an ailment. Have a headache? You don’t need 800 milligram prescribed ibuprofen. Need a high? Take up a sport, activity, hobby, anything that won’t ruin your life.

  • william bright

    @KQEDedspace, I believe prescription is a moderate concern and should be monitored by Pharmacist’s and it should be checked to see if the person needs painkillers at all, i mostly would agree that prescription painkillers are big deal because of the how many things can go wrong overdosing or even death, there is no point in taking prescription painkillers, i mean if you’re going to steal or take painkillers over the counter just to get high, its just not worth it, there are many ways we could fix this problem, its not HUGE problem where i live but it seems like its a growing problem. #DoNowPills#davisss

  • william bright


  • John Diep

    #DoNowPills/ I believe we can address this problem by testing patients monthly through blood examinations and if they are really using their prescription drugs for their own cause instead of selling it for money.

    • Beatriz Vargas

      I totally agree with you! #DoNowPills #Cossey459

  • Alec Viera

    Unfortunately, people will always have the ability to abuse prescription drugs. It’s a fact. There seems to be no efficient and legal way to monitor those who use them monthly. It’s most likely an issue in areas with higher rates of depression, both wealthy and poor alike. I think informing people about the issue and giving them alternatives to overconsumption of drugs is the best way to sedate the situation, but is no solution.

  • Brandon C

    Of course prescription drug abuse is a problem. But no more of a problem then I would say, regular drug abuse. The fact that many people are getting addicted to prescription drugs only is just a follow up to the fact that many people are just getting addicted to drugs in general. Drug addiction creates problems like violence, shorter life spans, and a more volatile generation. As for solutions to the problems, I have precious few. But trying to say prescription drug abuse isn’t a problem is quite foolish.

    • Samantha_M

      I agree with you. There
      is a problem with prescription drug abuse, but not any more than normal drug
      abuse. Although it might be easier to get prescription drugs if you know
      someone who is taking them. There really isn’t a way to monitor who is getting
      them. This is always going to be a problem. I say depending on where you are it
      may differ on how much of a problem it is. For example some big cities have big
      gangs or other things making it easier to access they drugs. So yes
      prescription drug abuse does occur and differ with different areas.

  • Vasni

    I think that prescription pain killers are more abused in certain areas are based on the type of environment and The surrounding . In where area where I live there probably is abuse of pill but I can’t notice it since they look like any other person .

    • ellielynn

      I agree with you Vasni. The environment and peoples surroundings directly affect the use of drugs. Drug abuse is decreasing in big cities and increasing in small deserted towns. There are iron gated fences surrounding the buildings, and a nice Mercedes in the driveway which would like a doctors home, but now these house several different drug dealers across the United States. Drug dealers are having to move frequently to keep themselves hidden and outta plain sight.

      People are having a much easier time obtaining drugs without prescriptions because Mexico has thousands of pharmacies right as you step off the cruise ship. You can buy practically any drug you wish for without even having a prescription. This is causing the drug industry in Mexico to boom, and many are traveling across borders to get the drugs easier and cheaper.

  • JayWolf

    It’s Insane, prescription drugs should only be used as prescribed by a professional that way if ANYTHING goes wrong you can sue them. It can cause loads of damage and prescription drugs when used incorrectly become gateway drugs to more serious things like meth and heroin. Don’t do things that could kill you!

  • tateeana ibarra

    @KQEDedspace #DoNowPills #davisss

  • Rosa Chea

    Prescription painkiller abuse is more of a problem in certain areas in society because the prescriptions are easier to obtain. Sadly, people will always be capable to have that abuse prescription drugs. It’s a problem in areas for those people who have depression or somewhat. In my area, I’ve seen a lot of teenagers and others use prescription painkillers too much. It definitely frightens me. Overall, If doctor’s didn’t prescribe prescription painkillers so freely, people wouldn’t get addicted to them.

    • Olivia

      I completely agree. Many people who abuse prescription drugs, or just drugs in general, always seem to obtain more. Here is a chart of sources drug abusers have received medication from.

      • Hi Olivia, please share the source for these numbers, thanks!

  • corrina cowden

    @kQEDedspace I believe that prescription drug abuse is a big concern because if a woman is pregnant with a child and abuses her prescription than her child will be born addicted to drug and or may kill the child. #DoNowPills #davisss

  • corrina cowden


    people need to stop over dosing. #DoNowPills #davisss

  • Olivia

    @KQEDedspace I think prescription drug abuse is a big concern. It may not happen too often where I live, but it’s still an issue in larger cities. Women who are pregnant and abuse prescription drugs are not only putting themselves in danger, but the child, or children, developing.

  • Anna Betzer

    It depends on the drug, but many prescription drugs, such as Vicodin, are made with a narcotic called codeine, which has been known to be very addictive and harmful in cases where a person develops an addiction.

    • Pat Tuck

      Getting addicted to anything is always a bad road to be on. And in this case we’re dealing with something that can be very detrimental to your health, and can also be a burden to those you are close to and those that care about you. Every day in the U.S., 2.500 hundred youth, from ages 12-17, abuse a prescription, pain relieving drug for the first time. This is scary to think about because if we have kids starting these things out at a young age, their health is going to deteriorate accordingly. The earlier you start the worse it will be.

      • maryann26

        Shouldn’t the parent’s know what their teenagers are doing? I think they definitely should.

    • Amanda Stinger

      I agree with you, drugs can be addicting. Yes I do
      believe that prescription drug abuse should be a big concern. The abuse prescription drug in larger doses,
      especially through injection or snorting, puts an even greater strain on the
      body. The stress on the heart can be fatal. It doesn’t harm just
      yourself it harms the ones around you also. You become more distant. Long term
      affects might include: damage to blood vessels of heart and brain, high blood
      pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes and death, liver, kidney and lung
      damage. Overall, I believe that prescription drug abuse should be watched more
      carefully. Parents need to hide and lock up there medicine and keep an eye on

  • Dina Rosales

    Prescription drug abuse has been a problem since there have been prescription drugs. This is nothing new. My mother went in to the hospital at the age of 16 and came out addicted to prescription pain killers. She never kicked the habit and chose to abandon her 5 children when she was 28, rather than stick with a drug rehab program. And this all occurred 40 years ago. I remember finding a suitcase under her bed, and when I opened it, there were over 100 prescription bottles inside. So where did they come from? – a doctor. We need to look at how easily a patient can get prescription drugs and address the issue at the source – the doctor writing the script.

  • Beatriz Vargas

    Many people are getting addicted to prescription drugs which is quite scary. Drug abuse creates lots of problems, for example, it can affect our love ones. We need a solution! #DoNowPills #Cossey459

    • Mega redes

      i agree, people may get a prescription drug and like it so much that they want more. so therefor they lie and say they still need more but they are actually fine and just like the effects of it. some people use prescription drugs just because there friends use it. it also seems that some people have a genetic history to addiction, which theirs nothing they can do about it. taking your family and friends out of your life, failing at work, and recording a small-time criminal career aren’t what anyone plans on when they swallow their first Vicodin

  • maryann26

    People make a choice to abuse prescription drugs. They can also make a choice not to get their “fix.”

  • RigoF

    They are more abusive because people in different areas are either bored, more populated, and have more money. I have never really seen people distribute any narcotics around my neighborhood. I mean things could be done too fix this problem but people make a choice to abuse prescription drugs, they can make there own choice to get help or not.

  • Stephan G.

    Its more of a problem in some areas because of the economy and society that those kids live in. It looks bad and its really not good for anyone underage. People should make a change and stop this. #Defendyourturf

  • Veanna P

    I think painkillers in some areas are more around because everyone could get them so easily. I do not see it much where I live but I have heard of people who do it. I feel like it could also be the parents fault for having the pills where us teenagers could reach them easily.

  • nick

    i think its because kids in particular think its cool to take prescription drugs in front of people at school and so when they think that they don’t stop the usage, and they don’t recognize it until it’s too late!

  • kaylen butler

    maybe in certain areas drugs are prescribed more. well some people do pills but hardly any, its mostly weed that’s a problem out here in the desert. The only thing I can think of being done is to make it illegal to even get prescription drugs.

  • Shanti H

    I believe prescription pain killers are more of a problem in certain areas because they’re easier to get in different areas. A lot of people in my area abuse prescription pain killers because they’re fairly easy to access here. I think that there really is no way to end prescription drug abuse other than to stop distributing them. You can inform people of the dangers of abusing prescriptions but that’s not gonna stop everyone from doing it because people will do what they want despite the consequences.

  • Ernesto F.

    Prescription painkiller abuse is more of a problem now because its more easy to get your hands on. The accessibility to prescription drugs allows for more and more people to become hooked. I think doctors should give less amount of pills to each person.

  • Marissa S.

    Prescription drugs is an issue probably because they are cheaper and easier to get. Prescription drugs get over prescribed sometimes and it gives the opportunity to sell to other people. Teenagers probably like to try them since they think they are more safe and have nothing else to do. To help the situation, they should not be prescribed to just anyone for just a small pain. Otherwise, there isn’t much to solve the situation. It isn’t really anyone else’s fault that they abuse them but themselves.

  • Christian G.

    I think that prescription drugs are a problem are certain areas because of their economic state. In my area prescription drugs are drugs that are being taken but other drugs like marijuana are more commonly used. I think getting a prescription should be harder to get.

  • Jules A

    I think there’s more problems with prescription drugs in teens, especially those with problems in their life such as depression or dramatic things going on in their life so they turn to drugs to help cope with things. Some people do it because they think its fun or are bored and want to try something like that. Prescription drugs are also very easy to get a hold of and that causes a lot of the abuse problem.

  • Morgan M.

    I think it’s easier for teenagers to get pills because they’re always around it and it could even be in their own houses. Certain areas who are more wealthy have bigger problems with pill abuse because pills are more expensive. I feel that some teenagers sell pills instead of getting an actual job because they think they can make more money selling drugs.

  • Juan G

    I think drug abuse is easier in certain areas because the type of people in the area. people with more money can get stronger and more expensive drugs in larger amounts.that makes it more addictive

  • Savannah

    I feel that prescription pills are being abused in certain areas because they are easier to get and since it is more populated it is most likely going to surface with teens than say a farm in Kansas. Prescription drug abuse is pretty popular in the richer and well off people can get it.

  • harrison

    Painkillers are easy to come by. Anyone can get painkillers for a broken arm or leg , and when they get the prescribed drugs they abuse them. Even when their pain is gone they still take the drugs. Drugs like attention, don’t give it to them.

  • Armando A

    its their choice if they want to ruin their life go ahead im not going to stop you from ruining your life but if you want to go ahead and start doing hardcore drugs such as herione and methanol so its none of your buisiness

  • DaisyOMP

    Prescription drugs have become a big problem now in days. People abuse the drugs because they can get their hands on them so easily. Many people don’t even actually need the prescription. All they want is the pleasure of doing the drugs. The pharmacists should not get blamed for people abusing the drugs. Pharmacists are simply taking orders and doing their jobs. Their jobs are not to investigate to see if the person on the prescription is actually taking the drugs for good purposes or evil ones. They are simply just taking the doctors orders. People should really consider that they are taking pills that someone else might really need. Making it more scarce for others who truly need the drug.



Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams is a filmmaker and media educator who has recently transplanted to Oakland from Los Angeles. He believes that you are what you eat and feels everyone should have a multitude of dietary options for self-realization. Matthew is the Educational Technologist at KQED.

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