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News of the Day ... in Perspective

3/5/2004

Bush Administration targets prescription drug abuse

The Administration’s proposed 2005 budget contains $138 million to attack the illicit use of prescription drugs, a $20 million increase.

According to federal estimates, 6.2 million Americans misused prescription drugs in 2002, compared with 2 million who used illegal cocaine and 700,000 who used Ecstasy.

The federal government wants to increase the number of states that monitor prescriptions to check for “doctor shopping” from 20 to 31, said John P. Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Meanwhile, 495 internet sites offering prescription drugs were identified in a one-week study by Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Of these, 197 offered opioids. Only 6% of the sites required a prescription, and none took precautions to prevent the sale of drugs to children.

Unlike doctor’s offices, internet sites pop up regularly, only to close and reopen under a different name when they are discovered (Marc Kauffman, Washington Post, 3/2/04 Free Registration Required).

Additional information:

Doctor shopping a symptom of undertreatment of pain. JP&S Vol. 9 No. 1 (PDF file)

Palm Beach County Judge Robert Schwartz was removed from bench in October 2002 because of severe addiction to OxyContin for more than eight years– after he was no longer able to hold court. He was never prosecuted, nor were his medical records seized. www.drudgereport.com/rush5.htm

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