Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Prescription drug abuse McKenna’s next big push

Post by Kim Bradford on Aug. 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm with 1 Comment »
August 14, 2009 3:58 pm

Attorney General Rob McKenna visited yesterday to plug his latest cause, preventing prescription drug abuse and overdoses. He cited some pretty interesting statistics:

&bull Prescription drug overdoses are killing far more people in Washington state than heroin, cocaine and meth combined.

&bull Methadone is the biggest culprit, followed by Oxycodone and Hydrocodone (the opiate in Vicodin).

&bull In 2005-06, Washington ranked 6th in the nation for the percentage of people 12 and older who misused prescription pain relievers.

&bull The state’s medical director says that the increased daily doses being prescribed by doctors are not associated with improved outcomes and are most likely leading to increased tolerance, which can lead people to overdose.

McKenna’s got several public education campaigns going, but is frustrated by the Drug Enforcement Agency’s insistence that pharmacies can’t accept narcotics and other controlled substances back from patients who didn’t use their entire prescription. (The old advice – to flush the pills – no longer applies; pharmaceuticals are beginning to pollute the water supply).

The federal policy makes no sense. We trust pharmacists enough to dispense narcotics – why can’t they also accept returns? Up in Clallam County, the sheriff has found a way around the rule by deputizing pharmacists.

Who's visiting
Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. ldozy1234 says:

    Absolutely a major issue here and needs to be immediately addressed. Getting the prescription drugs all on-line for reporting would help diminish the abuse, as every healthcare provider, treatment facility and pharmacy would have rapid access to check for repeated Rx’s.
    There also does need to be a waste drop off that is secure. Sadly, I can see abuse happening at places given any ability to decrease operating costs by recycling turned in meds or a “bad apple” going after the street profit angle.
    Last I heard- oxy had a street value of about $40-80 per pill depending on the dose.
    Question: why can’t local law have a disposal program and destroy the Rx meds the same way they destroy the illegals they confiscate? Does burning them increase the pollution as much as flushing them?

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0