Prescription drug abuse is on the rise and statistics have been released to prove it. According to the Substance and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), between 2002 and 2009, the number of Americans aged 12 and older abusing pain relievers increased by 20 percent.
As a result, the Obama administration and lawmakers of both parties vow to tackle the growing epidemic of painkiller deaths. Anti-drug and health officials released a new strategy this week that calls for states to create and use databases which track prescription drugs. The plan also asks for an additional $123 million for drug prevention and an additional $99 million for treatment programs in the 2012 fiscal year.
“Today we are making an unprecedented commitment to combat the growing problem of prescription drug abuse”, said Joe Bide, United State Vice President. “This plan will save lives, and it will substantially lessen the burden this epidemic takes on our families, communities, and workforce.”
“This plan will save lives, and it will substantially lessen the burden this epidemic takes on our families, communities, and workforce,” he added.
This plan will help educate the medical community about the dangers of prescription drug addiction and how their actions are affecting the entire country. Drug makers will actually be responsible for teaching the doctors and drug distributors about the safe use of prescription drugs.
The plan will also force states to put in place and use a drug monitoring program. A drug monitoring program is a statewide electronic database which collects designated data on substances dispensed in the state. The monitoring is controlled by a specified statewide administration or agency. The agency distributes data from the database to individuals who are authorized under state law to receive the information for purposes of their profession.
It also includes a more effective arrangement for pill disposal methods. Individuals will be given specific areas where they can bring their unused medications or prescriptions and have them safely disposed. Without a strict enforcement, unused drugs could sit around the medicine cabinet and eventually fall into the wrong hands.
Finally, it includes a collective effort to reduce the prevalence of pill mills. A pill mill is a doctor’s office or clinic where doctors sell prescription drugs to practically anyone with cash. These have also become a major problem throughout the country.
If implemented correctly, this plan has the potential to save the lives of millions.
Prescriptions have become the second most abused drug in the world currently. The government, along with rehabilitation and education programs around the country is working hard to end the prescription epidemic. The solution is to focus on demand reduction and get prescription drug addiction help for those in need.