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New Program Aimed at Combatting Prescription Drug Abuse

As promised, we are continuing our hard look at prescription drug abuse and its consequences. The specific plan enacted by the U.S. government on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 is set to lower prescription drug abuse by 15 percent over the next five years. The plan, one of the strictest ever initiated with the express purpose of curtaining prescription drug abuse, is multi-layered to have the most impact possible. Initially, about 1 million doctors will be mandated to under-go training on proper prescription practices. Only with this class will they be able to prescribe some of the most dangerous pills, known as opioids. It is noted that this is the “first-ever comprehensive plan” and is focused on four main areas: education, tracking databases, better methods of disposal for unused and expired medications and more training and focus by law enforcement on pill mills. The strategy is bold and sweeping, but the overall goals are much more manageable and pragmatic. In one instance, Congress would create a law requiring a certain amount of training to learn ethical prescription practices. Because of such a high influx of new medications, some doctors are not as well versed on the effects and susceptibility of addiction with these pills as with older, more traditional medications. The project is being called a “real collaboration” and focuses on the medical profession, police, and the general public. It is the hope that national awareness campaigns will help parents and teens both become accountable and have the necessary discussions regarding prescription drug abuse. Another method happens at the state level, where monitoring programs will eventually exist in all 50 states. Currently, there are 35 programs in existence with 8 more on the way, Florida included. This program has the ability to make a huge difference at a crucial time, especially for states like Florida that are struggling with excessive abuse. As mentioned, Florida is quickly becoming the epicenter of all things pill-related, with over 85% of all prescriptions for addictive pills coming from this one state alone. (photo via)

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