Prescription for Ending Prescription Abuse Needed, Say Robert Weiner, Former White House Drug Policy Spokesman, and Analyst Varun Saxena
Congress, DEA, Pharmaceutical Companies, Public Must Do More to Counter “National Crisis of a Leading New Source of Death”
WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Former White House Drug Policy spokesman Robert Weiner and analyst Varun Saxena call for a “prescription for safety with prescription drugs.” Congress, DEA, pharmaceutical companies, and the public must do more to counter “a national crisis of a leading new source of death.”
In a New Jersey Star Ledger oped today, Weiner and Saxena point out, “In 2010, 22 million Americans will take prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. Abuse has quadrupled over the last decade. Treatment facilities across the nation have seen a tripling to quintupling of entries for opiates like OxyContin – it’s the ‘New Heroin,’ says former federal Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey.”
Weiner and Saxena assert, “The problem is especially acute among youth. 60% of teens believe that prescription pain relievers are not addictive and 40% think they are ‘much safer’ than illegal drugs.”
“The truth is that prescription drugs are highly addictive and result in more fatalities (27,000 last year) than from cocaine and heroin combined.”
Weiner and Saxena report, “Over half of prescription drug abusers admit that they obtained the drugs from a friend or relative for free. The majority of those stated that the friend or relative had obtained the drugs from a single doctor.”
“If you have unused prescription drugs in your home, get rid of them.”
“Sometimes, government does something right. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s recent ‘Prescription Drug Take-Back Day’ was a huge success – 121 tons of unused prescription drugs collected at 3,400 sites nationwide. DEA should hold drug take-back days on a regular basis. Private take-back programs should be encouraged to flourish with help from charities, government, and individuals.”
“The pharmaceutical industry should:
- “Create public service announcements that inform the public about the dangers.
- “Run announcements in a media campaign that includes TV, radio, print, and Internet.
- “Highlight the tragic fate of celebrities who succumbed to prescription drug abuse – including Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger.
“Congress and state legislators should require the pharmaceutical companies to report the side effects of illegitimate use in all of their advertisements.”
Contact: Bob Weiner/Gavriel Swerling 301-283-0821 or 202-306-1200
SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates