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Delaware Governor: Jack Markell


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Confronting Prescription Drug Abuse

Written on: July 16th, 2010 in Effective & Efficient Government

Yesterday, Delaware was honored to host the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, R. Gil Kerkikowske, to mark another step on the difficult road to curbing prescription drug addiction.  It’s always encouraging to see state and the federal government working together, particularly when the issue is deadly serious.

Since 1999,  drug-related deaths have doubled nationwide, surpassing homicides, suicides and gunshot wounds as causes of death. This increase is largely due to the abuse of prescription painkillers.

This is a substantial national problem that requires coordinated local solutions to address. We need to continue sharing information to ensure that we find the most effective approach to dealing with a problem that has fueled skyrocketing national statistics and heartbreaking local tragedies.

Our new law, sponsored by Senators Brian Bushweller and Bethany Hall-Long, and Representatives Larry Mitchell and Melanie George, authorizes the creation of a database of prescription information from pharmacies.  This will help accomplish two things:

  1. Doctors will be able to check the database and screen for abuse before giving prescriptions for controlled substances.  This helps prevent “doctor shopping” by allowing to the doctor to see if a patient has similar prescriptions from other medical providers.
  2. Physicians can also easily verify that they are not prescribing drugs that could interact dangerously with existing prescriptions from other doctors.  This can save lives and improve health outcomes for anyone taking more than one prescription drug.

Other states have implemented similar prescription drug monitoring programs and are collecting and analyzing prescription data more effectively.  Now we will too.

The statistics are astounding.  From Office of National Drug Control Policy blog:


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