US plans to reduce harm from opioid drugs

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The White House on Tuesday unveiled a multi-agency plan aimed at reducing the “epidemic” of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.-including an FDA-backed education program that zeros-in on reducing the misuse and misprescribing of opioids.

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, says the plan-a collaborative effort involving agencies of the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Defense, and others-provides a national framework for reducing prescription drug abuse and the diversion of prescription drugs for recreational use.

“The toll our nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic has taken in communities nationwide is devastating,” says Kerlikowske. “We share a responsibility to protect our communities from the damage done by prescription drug abuse.”

Key elements of the plan-called Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis-include:

– expansion of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs

– recommending convenient and environmentally responsible ways to remove unused medications from homes

– supporting education for patients and health care providers

– reducing the number of “pill mills” and doctor-shopping through law enforcement

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, USA

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