News / USA

Obama Launches Campaign Against Prescription Drug Abuse

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, center, accompanied by Office of National Drug Control Policy Director  Gil Kerlikowske, left, and Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Howard Koh, speaks during a news conference
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, center, accompanied by Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, left, and Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Howard Koh, speaks during a news conference

Government health officials say the abuse of prescribed medications causes more accidental deaths in the United States than anything else except automobile crashes, which kill more than 30,000 Americans every year. Representatives of five federal agencies on Tuesday presented the Obama administration's new plan for reducing prescription drug abuse and saving lives.  

At the age of 15, Hanna Leos became a drug addict after a high school classmate began sharing with her some powerful prescription anti-anxiety pills.

"Benzodiazapines, Valium, Xanax, Clonapin, Lorazapam," Leos called out.

These drugs can be found in the medicine cabinets of many American homes. So can opioid pain killers. Teenagers in growing numbers have been using their parents' prescription drugs to get high.

"They're prescribed and they get them filled and they just sit there,” she noted. “They sit there for a long time so the kids can take them all."  

Pharmacists like David Vandriesche are aware of the problem.

"You hear about people, they had their grandson, granddaughter come visit, then they're running short [of their medication] and refilling it early and they're not sure what happened," he stated.

At a joint press conference Tuesday, federal health officials and representatives from drug enforcement agencies announced the Obama administration's new National Prescription Drug Abuse Plan, the first comprehensive federal plan for controlling the intentional misuse of doctor-authorized medications.

It includes retraining one million doctors on proper prescription practices, creating databases to track prescription painkillers and other controlled drugs, educating the public about the danger of prescription drug abuse and stepping up law enforcement.  

Gil Kerlikowske is President Obama's national drug policy director.  

"The prescription drug problem cuts across all of the age groups. No one should put a face [on it] that this is a young person's problem, a wealthy person's problem.  This cuts across all the demographics," Kerlikowske said.

Hanna Leos went to jail after she was caught writing her own prescriptions.  But she is still alive and recovering from her addiction.  

Rich Perry died of a prescription drug overdose at the age of 21.  His addiction started in high school.  Perry's parents, Karen and Rich Perry, support the administration's plan for prescription drugs.

"We weren't aware of it because Rich behaved like any normal kid. He was getting good grades.  He was on the golf team. He was just like any other kid," Perry explained.

Their son's addiction didn't stop at prescription drugs. He became a heroin user. Heroin is cheaper than prescription pain killers like Oxycontin.  The Perrys put him in a treatment program. But addiction is a disease in which relapse is almost normal.

"But each time....they go into the treatment, they get a clearer understanding of what the signs are and how to prevent it, Of course, there's always that risk that they don't make it to the next time in treatment.  My son did not," Karen Perry said.  

The Perrys started a task force to prevent other families from losing a loved one from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.


You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid