3-23-11: Too Many Pills?
Drug abuse in Maryland has gone way beyond heroin or crack bought and sold on street corners. Abuse of LEGAL drugs—prescription drugs–is soaring, according to recent data compiled by the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Looking at abuse of prescription opiates, the report says admissions to treatment programs related to those drugs more than doubled between 2007 and 2010. There’s been a 250 percent increase in calls to state poison control centers related to ocycodone. And more than half of all intoxication deaths in Maryland last year involved a prescription opiate.
In the face of this trend, officials are pushing for Maryland to set up a prescription drug monitoring system. All but seven other states have one. A bill that would do so is currently before the General Assembly.
Sheilah speaks about it with Dr. Wilson Compton, who heads the National Institute for Drug Abuse’s division of epidemiology, services and prevention research; NIDA is part of the National Institute of Health, and Frances Phillips, Deputy Secretary in the Maryland Department of Health and Hygiene.