President Obama is going to war against illegal prescription drug use in America, an epidemic that has swept across our great nation. The majority of people in this country who take drugs like the powerful opiate OxyContin did not get the drug from a doctor. In fact, only 7% of OxyContin users got the drug from a doctor and 13% bought it from a drug dealer or other stranger, but, the real problem is that nearly two-thirds were given the drug by a friend or relative. Obama's new Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan calls on Congress to amend the Controlled Substances Act with a new requirement: doctors who deal with pain management need to learn appropriate uses for opioid medicines, as well as know how to screen patients for drug abuse before they can get a Drug Enforcement Administration license to prescribe such drugs.
A major goal is starting prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in every state and making sure they can share data across states and are used by healthcare providers. A number of addicts get their hands on narcotics from peoples' unused prescriptions, the government will be installing convenient and environmentally responsible prescription drug disposal programs. According to White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, Congress must require special training for doctors and other health care workers before they are allowed to prescribe powerful drugs like OxyContin.
Instances of recreational use and diversion of OxyContin have increased in the U.S. beginning in the late 1990s. A 2003 study by the Government Accountability Office determined three major factors that may have contributed to the illicit use and distribution of OxyContin in the U.S.
- OxyContin contains a large amount of oxycodone compared with other types of oxycodone containing pills.
- OxyContin's warning label said to not crush the controlled-release tablets because of the potential for rapid release of oxycodone, which led to many people crushing the tablets and injecting or snorting the drug.
- By 2001, sales of OxyContin in the U.S. exceeded $1 billion per year.