More education needed on dangers of prescription drugs

9:30 AM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
Dawn Fosket looks at photos of her son, Michael, on Wednesday at her daughter's home in Wellington. Michael died last August from an overdose of prescription painkillers. / V. Richard Haro/The Coloradoan
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FORT COLLINS - Dawn Fosket has a message for parents: Prescription drug abuse is a real problem that's not going away.

Deaths attributed to prescription drugs nearly doubled in Colorado from 2000 to 2010, climbing from 228 to 414, according to the Denver County Sheriff's Office. More than twice as many people in Colorado died from prescription drug overdoses in 2010 than from drunk-driving crashes.

When the next batch of statistics comes out, Fosket's son, Mike, will be marked among those lost to a war she says parents and educators are losing.

Three years after Mike graduated from Poudre High School in 2006, he suffered a serious back injury in a car wreck. The pain lingered long after the crash.

At first, Dawn said Mike medicated with prescription marijuana. Soon he moved on to recreational use of narcotic pain relievers.

"Mike always had a reason or an excuse," she said, recalling some of her discussions with Mike about multiple prescription bottles.

On Aug. 2, 2012, Mike died from an overdose.

Now Dawn is willing to do whatever it takes to prevent another Northern Colorado family from losing a member to a spreading killer.

That includes hosting the inaugural Mike Fosket Memorial golf tournament, held last weekend at Mountain Vista Golf Course, where Dawn partnered with Team Fort Collins to raise $3,900 for substance abuse prevention.

The CDC says drug overdoses have increased since the 1970s. The number of deaths has never been higher, and the CDC attributes that to a 10-fold increase in the use of opioid painkillers in the past 20 years. Opioids such as oxycodone kill nearly twice as many people as cocaine and five times more people than heroin, according to a July 2010 CDC brief.

"Narcotic pain relievers are causing a great deal of dependence and abuse," Team Fort Collins Executive Director Ashley Kasprzak said. "Individuals are falling into this without being predisposed to drug use."

Mike wasn't necessarily predisposed to drug use. But he did have what Dawn called an "addictive personality."

Read the full report on The Fort Collins Coloradoan.

(Copyright © 2013 Fort Collins Coloradoan, All Rights Reserved)

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