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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Senators Join Forces Against Prescription Drug Epidemic

The fight against prescription drug abuse in America continues, as leaders of the bipartisan Senate health committee aim their sights at the national “epidemic” of prescription drug overdoses, The Hill reports. This week, a number of senators drafted letters to government officials and health groups, promoting a stronger response against drug overdoses in America. 

The senators pointed out that prescription drug overdose death rates have more than tripled in the United States since 1990. 

 

 “With our shared goal of preventing and reducing prescription drug abuse in this country — a crisis that demands continued action, we expect that your activities in this area will continue, and we stand ready to assist you,” the senators wrote.

While there are steps that addicts and their families can take to reverse the effect of an overdose, many are uneducated about drugs like naloxone, a drug that can save lives. Naloxone is becoming more widely available and can even be obtained in some states without a prescription. In many cities, law enforcement has begun carrying the overdose antidote in their squad cars. If naloxone is administered fast enough, the effects of an overdose can be reversed.

The senators would like to see increased public education, as well as training of law enforcement officials. 

 

In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the senators encouraged her agency to continue evaluating prescription drug monitoring programs, which they called “an important tool in preventing and detecting abuse.” Letters were also sent to state leaders from the National Governors Association and the National Association of City and County Health Officials, among other health advocacy groups.

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