Government seeks to curb prescription drug abuse

Washington – The White House on April 19 unveiled a multi-agency plan (.pdf file) aimed at reducing prescription drug abuse.

The plan includes:

  • Expanding state-based prescription drug monitoring programs
  • Recommending convenient and environmentally safe ways to remove unused medications from homes
  • Supporting education on misusing and misprescribing opioid pain medications for patients and health care providers
  • Reducing the number of “pill mills” and “doctor shopping” through law enforcement

The Food and Drug Administration estimates 33 million Americans 12 and older misused opioids in 2007. Nearly 50,000 emergency room visits were related to opioids in 2006.

Meanwhile, the Miami-based National Family Partnership launched a campaign aimed at preventing adults from unwittingly supplying teens with prescription drugs. Lock Your Meds includes posters, educational materials and games.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem among 12- to 17-year-olds, with 1 out of every 5 high school students admitting to taking prescription drugs without a prescription.

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