Washington: Prescription painkillers kill more people in US than heroin and cocaine combined, thanks to fatal overdosing, says a new analytical report.
Experts from the Prescription Drug Monitoring Programme (PDMP) Centre of Excellence at Brandeis University`s Heller School for Social Policy and Management systematically assessed prescription drug monitoring programmes and found a patchwork of strategies and standards.
"An epidemic of prescription drug abuse is devastating American families and draining state and federal time, money and manpower," said Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
"Law enforcement and health officials are doing heroic work and, thankfully, this report provides a road map to help them further."
"Being proactive is the key to success in the fight against prescription painkiller abuse," said John L. Eadie, Director, PDMP Centre Brandeis University.
"While doctors may routinely collect and report data to a state programme that signals where and when prescription painkillers are likely being misused, the programme might not share that information with others who can best use it."
By the end of 2001, the report found that 16 states had authorized the creation of prescription drug monitoring programmes; within 11 years that number had grown to 49. Today, 41 states have programmes in operation, according to a Brandeis statement.