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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Prescription Drug Task Force

Every state in the country is working to crack down on prescription drug abuse due to the every growing epidemic sweeping across America. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is creating a task force to combat prescription drug abuse, after officials identified 21 pharmacies that account for about one-fourth of the city’s oxycodone Medicaid reimbursements.

Just like almost every other city in the country, New York City has seen a 10-fold jump in the use of prescription opioids over the last 20 years, The Wall Street Journal reports. The number of opioid-related emergency rooms visits jumped 40 percent between 2004 and 2009. “These drugs are being used to do more than just kill pain,” Bloomberg said in a statement to the newspaper.

“They are being misprescribed and misused, resulting in addiction and overdoses.”
The task force will include health and law-enforcement officials. The group’s first round of recommendations is expected in January.

The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will institute basic guidelines for physicians on how to prescribe opioids safely, according to the article. The guidelines recommend that for most patients with acute pain, a three-day supply of opioids is enough, even though doctors regularly prescribe much more.

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