Prevention Topics

Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

Overdose deaths are the cause of death for an alarming number of youth and young adults in Kansas, and the problem is getting increasingly worse. According to a study by Trust for America's Health, the death rates from prescription and illicit drug overdose for 12- to 24-year-olds in Kansas quadrupled from 1999 to 2013. While Kansas' drug overdose rate is below the national average, the only state that saw a greater jump during the same years is Wyoming. The National Center for Health Statistics reported that 19 people died in Kansas from heroin overdoses in a single year (2014), and heroin deaths may be under-reported. The Wichita Eagle recently published a story about the concerning swell of heroin abuse.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded $94 million to a total of 45 states to combat the opioid epidemic and $1.4 million has been awarded to 4 treatment centers in Kansas. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) also recently awarded a grant for statewide efforts in prevention, with community grants upcoming.

Prescription drugs are used in habit-forming ways by people of all ages. It is important to educate children and young people about the risks of prescription drug abuse. According to national research, the most common medications that are abused include pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. These are all substances that children and teens may obtain through friends or family members, as well as through doctor prescriptions.

Below is a short list of useful websites and resources specific to prescription drug abuse prevention. Subscribe to stay informed of updates and send your requests and ideas to

The National Institute on Drug Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) offers a variety of resources on prescription drug-abuse, including an informational research report and articles related to specific substances, such as:

  • cough and cold medicine abuse
  • emerging trends (such as "sizzurp" and "Purple Drank")
  • prescription stimulants, sedatives, and opioids
  • the link between opioids and heroin; and
  • over-the-count medicine effects

For more information on prescription drug abuse visit

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) has introduced their prescription drug abuse prevention initiatives, as well as a useful toolkit. Find effective prevention strategies, facts, and tools to guide prevention planning, community success stories, and other resources at

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that many people in the United States die from overdose of prescription painkillers, and many more become addicted. The CDC is committed to promoting a public health approach to drug overdose prevention. Learn about the risk of these strong drugs and other options for safe, effective pain management. The CDC is addressing this epidemic in three ways:

Learn more and discover ways to make assessment and evaluation data useful for your community coalition at


$485 Million

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services committed to awarding $485 million in grants to combat the opioid epidemic in 2017. (US News)

  • In 2017, 14.45% of Kansas 12th graders reported they have used prescription drugs, not prescribed to them by a doctor, in their lifetime (KCTC).
  • Of the Kansas 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who reported using prescription drugs not prescribed to them by a doctor, most reported a friend or relative gave the drugs to them (KCTC).
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