In response to the continued prescription painkiller problem in the United States, 16 U.S. Senators have requested more funding to go toward monitoring, treating and preventing prescription drug abuse. The letter to the Health and Human Services committee chairman was drafted by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Edward Markey (D-MA).
According to the proposal, $68 million is asked to be earmarked to go to the CDC so that the agency can fund research projects that will better educate society on the dangers of drug abuse. Studies would also be conducted to isolate the types of people and personalities that abuse prescription drugs so that a more concentrated effort can be taken regarding education and prevention methods.
In order to make a dent in the prescription drug abuse problem healthcare providers need to be more aware of the signs and indicators that a person may be succumbing to an addiction to painkillers. Unfortunately, many addicts begin their journey with pills received from members of the healthcare community, so the proposal correctly targets the medical field as an area that needs more education and a greater understanding or prevention efforts.
“Prescription and illicit drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States that continues to grow at an alarming rate. Drug overdose deaths have skyrocketed in the past decade, largely because of prescription opioids, and they have become the leading cause of injury death in the U.S.,” the senators wrote. “It is critical that we make a strong commitment to strengthen our nation’s efforts to combat this epidemic.”
A significant amount of money, $25 million is designated for funding projects that would seek alternative methods of pain management. Despite the prescription drug abuse problem, there is a clear issue of chronic and acute pain that needs to be addressed within the community. Prescription painkillers were received so openly because many people that were suffering from injuries or chronic pain issues were able to improve their quality of life. The proposal acknowledges that until there is a more effective way of addressing pain the prescription painkiller problem is likely to continue.
The rest of the money is intended to be spent funding monitoring tools. Utilizing monitoring tools would allow doctors to see if their patients were going from doctor to doctor and receiving similar prescriptions from more than one doctor.