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Greg Giraldo's death highlights prescription abuse problem

I had a special connection to comedian Greg Giraldo, who died Wednesday from unspecified complications after apparently accidentally overdosing on prescription drugs.

Giraldo, 44, was one of the handful of celebrities I've spotted when visiting New York City. I'll always remember the little frisson I felt when I walked past him on a sidewalk in Times Square.

That's a tenuous connection at best. But it still makes me feel even worse than I otherwise might about the loss of him and his talent to such an insidious cause.

Comedian Greg Giraldo died after apparently accidentally overdosing on prescription drugs this week. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The abuse of prescription drugs has been on the rise in the U.S. for the past few years, particularly among teenagers. It's a particularly troubling problem in which we parents might be taking part, unwittingly, in making these often-addictive drugs available to our kids.

Last Saturday the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sponsored a medicine-chest clean-out, during which folks were urged to clear out their cabinets and bring unneeded medications to designated drop-off spots. (For those who didn't take part, here are guidelines for disposing of prescription drugs.)

Here's more information from a professor at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and Cardinal Health about prescription drug abuse and what we can do about it.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | September 30, 2010; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  Drug Abuse, Teens  
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Say, I have a great way to avoid accidentally overdosing on "insidious" prescription drugs.

Don't take them.

Posted by: jd5024 | October 1, 2010 2:23 AM | Report abuse

"Say, I have a great way to avoid accidentally overdosing on "insidious" prescription drugs.

Don't take them."

Couldn't have said it better myself. Same with any drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or any so-called common or "insidious" behavior that is bad for the body.

Don't do it, problem solved.

Posted by: soloman5000 | October 1, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Nice work detectives: Everything is fixed now. No one is going to die of a drug overdose again. Children won't come to harm. Families won't be torn apart. Lives won't be ruined.

Your next assignment: come up with a cure for cancer.

Suggestion: tell people not to get cancer.

Posted by: Dtothe2 | October 1, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The almighty dollar and capitalistic greed is actually the biggest influence. Just turn on your tv and see how many ads there are for all types of drugs. The US is the world capital of "a pill to fix every ill" - real or imagined -. Prescribing drugs should be left entirely to the doctors. Pharmaceutical companies should be banned from advertizing on tv and then maybe we will see such abuse subsiding.

Posted by: crikeyalmighty | October 1, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Ever watch television. One can clearly see that America is a pill-popping nation. Anything that is wrong with you a pill is your solution and so we who trust doctors, pharmacists are being pilled to our inevitable dependence of prescription drugs. Its great for sales--and thats the trouble--you can always find a doctor who will get you a prescription for whatever you think you need. If you are not lucky enough to afford a doctor you can get old medications from a neighbor or rob their medicine cabinet on the way out. Pills are America's drug.

Posted by: Lyrazel | October 1, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Say, I have a great way to avoid accidentally overdosing on "insidious" prescription drugs.

Don't take them.

Say, nice solution. Say that after your child dies of an overdose.

Posted by: donquixote3 | October 1, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps everything we use or consume should be "child-resistant." After all, we seem to becoming a more infantile society every year. A society where no one is responsible for his own decisions or actions. Where every company or industry must protect us from ourselves and our own stupidity, or risk incurring punishing litigation by a band of marauding self-seeking lawyers.

Posted by: cml4 | October 1, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

accidental overdose of any substance is a concern best addressed by information and things like child proof packaging. other overdose situations can come from illicit use- where a person tries for a maximum effect or mixes drugs and gets an unintended overdose. as a society we have used various stratagies and tactics against drug use with very limited success. personally, i think most of the things we have done to "combat" drug use are more harmful than the drugs. our society might be better served by decriminalization and education. finally we come to intentional overdose- suicide. drugs like opiates have long been used to accomplish suicide and are well suited to the purpose. many people who are on strong pain medication have an inclination to end their suffering. other prospective suicides can obtain the necessary drugs. to sum up- drug overdose is more than one kind of problem and there must be ways to think about the different kinds of overdose.

Posted by: burtonrobb | October 1, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

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