New U.S. Drug Strategy Targets Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

This week the National Drug Control Policy branch of the White House announced a new national drug policy that targets the current epidemic of prescription drug abuse.  It is the first time the federal government has announced a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the non-medical use of prescription painkillers.  According to Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, “Abuse of prescription drugs, especially opioids, represents an alarming public health crisis.”

Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske unveiled the new plan, which aims to reduce the non-medical use of powerful opioid painkillers like oxycodone by 15 percent over the next 5 years.  Kerlikowske’s press release described the magnitude of the prescription drug problem as exceeding the black tar heroin and crack cocaine epidemics of the 1970s and 1980s.

The plan will focus on four main areas: education for physicians, prescription tracking, drug disposal and …

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