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MIAMI (AP) -- As more people die from prescription drug abuse, the White House drug czar on Tuesday unveiled a new strategy to cut misuse of powerful painkillers like oxycodone by 15 percent within five years and take particular aim at Florida-based "pill mills" that have fueled an explosion of the drugs along the East Coast and into Appalachia.The new approach will depend on education, stepped-up law enforcement and pill-tracking databases.Under one part of the plan, more than 1 million doctors would have to undergo training on proper prescription practices as a condition for their ability to prescribe the highly addictive drugs known as opioids.
The first-ever comprehensive federal plan focuses on four main areas: education for prescribing physicians and the public, including a media campaign about the drugs' dangers; pushing for tracking databases in all 50 states; better methods of throwing out unused or expired prescriptions; and more intense training and attention by law enforcement on illegal pill mill clinics.Florida is the epicenter of the deadly rise in abuse of oxycodone and similar addictive painkillers, with doctors in the Sunshine State prescribing far more of the drugs than all other states combined, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. And Florida's pill mills are the supplier of choice for much of the eastern U.S., causing a ripple effect of drug overdoses and addiction in Appalachia and other points to the north - where phenomenon dubbed the "OxyContin Express" includes busloads of people coming to Florida just for pills.
"To say we are going to do away with the problem in five years, we cannot do that," said Dr. Roland Gray, medical director of the Nashville-based Tennessee Medical Foundation and a Food and Drug Administration adviser on addiction issues. "I think they are headed in the right direction."
"Anything would help, because we're drowning in it up here in eastern Kentucky," Webb said, adding that he is skeptical any government plan will ultimately work. "I don't know if there's ever going to be a winning to this war on drugs."
"I think people were just not paying attention and then greed took over," she said. "They are legal drug dealers and they should be outlawed."
"There has been a flood of new medicines and many of the physicians out there weren't trained in using them, so there's a big gap in understanding how to manage these drugs,"
A recent report by Florida medical examiners found that in the first six months of 2010 - the most recent data available - 1,268 deaths in the state were caused by prescription drugs, or about seven fatalities a day during that span. Kentucky's governor says 82 people die of overdoses each month in his state.Renee Doyle, a Fort Lauderdale mother whose son Blayne was in an oxycodone haze when he was struck and killed by a car in 2009, said he was able to get 240 pills on each monthly visit to a local pain clinic by doing little more than asking for them. More than 850 pain clinics are currently registered in Florida, where doctors prescribe 85 percent of all such pills in the nation.Although the DEA and local police recently arrested more than 20 people, including five doctors, in a crackdown on South Florida pill mills, Kerlikowske said it's not strictly a law enforcement issue.
Another piece would be a national education campaign featuring ads like the famous frying-egg "this is your brain on drugs" ad used in past antidrug efforts. Key to that is making sure parents keep prescription drugs out of the hands of their children, who are now abusing them more than any illegal drug except marijuana.The plan envisions prescription drug monitoring programs in all 50 states. Currently, 35 have such programs up and running. They are authorized but not yet operational in eight more states, including Florida. The databases can help detect abuses and illegal diversion of pills by tracking physicians' prescriptions and how much pharmacies are dispensing.
"We're trying to make a statement that if you think you're sliding by in a gray area, you're not, and we're coming," Trouville said.
The people who are prescribing these medications to anyone and everyone that has the money to pay for the Drs appointment are the problem along with the people that recieve the meds and dont take them and then take advantage of addicts by charging whatever they want for them because they know they will get it.
Originally posted by Buford2
I agree with you on locking up the pill pushing doctors but it goes far deeper than this. The Gov is the real drug dealers. The gov makes so much money off pain meds that they encourage the docs to give them out like candy.