New White House Plan Targets Prescription Pain Killers
The White House has announced a new plan designed to reduce the abuse of prescription pain killers. The misuse of these drugs has become one of the leading causes of non-natural death in San Diego County.
More than 400 San Diegans died from an overdose of prescription drugs in 2009. Local health officials say the most widely abused medications are pain killers like Oxycontin.
The new federal effort will try to reduce the problem through expanded prescription drug monitoring. It also calls on drug makers to better educate doctors on pain management.
Dr. Michael Plopper is chief medical officer for Sharp Behavioral Health Services. He said that idea might backfire.
"I fear that it won't lead to reduced prescribing," he cautioned. "It may in fact lead to increased prescribing, as more doctors feel competent to prescribe these medications."
Federal officials say 33-million Americans misused prescription pain killers in 2007. The Food and Drug Administration says a 2007 survey showed more than half of all opioid abusers got the drugs from a friend or family member.