Policy Recommendations for Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse
|October 11, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Drug and Alcohol, News, Policy||
Trust for America’s Health’s (TFAH) latest report, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic, illustrates the magnitude of the public health problem created by misuse of prescription drugs, and examines the methods that states are employing to address the disturbing trend. According to the authors, the number of deaths by prescription drug overdose is larger than those by cocaine and heroin combined. With sales of prescription painkillers 4 times higher in 2010 than in 1999, the increase in the abuse of these substances should not come as a surprise.
Some of the findings from the report:
- In 2010, West Virginia was the state with the highest rate of deaths by overdose, at 28.9 for every 100,000 residents (an increase of 605 percent increase from 1999). North Dakota had the lowest at 3.4 for every 100,000 residents.
- 22 states require by law specific education for doctors and other healthcare professionals who can prescribe pain medication.
- 17 states have laws giving some protection from criminal charges (or consider it a mitigating factor) to people attempting to get medical assistance for an overdose victim, including themselves.
Pennsylvania is ranked 14th in amount of deaths by drug overdose and, according to the report, has in place 4 of 10 evidence-based indicators that work to reduce prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths. Policy and practice recommendations such as educational outreach and more variety in treatment options, as well as data snapshots for all fifty states are included in the complete report available at the Trust for America’s Health’s website.