In an excellent post on the New York Times website yesterday, University of Florida professor Kevin Sabet outlines three important ways to battle prescription drug abuse, which the CDC has now classified as an “epidemic.” Sabet frames the problem as a particularly difficult one, given that painkillers and other prescription drugs can be extremely useful to those that need them when “taken appropriately.” However, given the rise in prescription abuse – which now claims more lives than traffic fatalities – Sabet asserts that “radical changes” must be made in the way the government and health care professionals deal with the problem, and he outlines three ways that those changes can be made:
1. Doctors and other prescribers need to be active in the battle against abuse, regularly using the resources available to them, such as their state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
2. The government must take an equally active role by investing in treatment and prevention, as well as providing oversight on the state monitoring programs.
3. The pharmaceutical industry must be proactive as well, and invest more resources into the research and development of “abuse-deterrent” drugs, which are less likely to be abused.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Professor Sabet? Are there other steps that can be taken to reduce prescription drug abuse? Let us know in the comments.
Source: “How to Treat the Epidemic” – NY Times Opinion Pages, February 15, 2012.
Source: New York Times