Bush Admin. to Crack Down on Painkiller Abuse
The latest, misguided target of the Bush Administration's War on Drugs is prescription abuse--for pain killers, sedatives and stimulants. A crackdown was announced yesterday.
Under the strategy announced Monday, the government will pay states to help develop monitoring systems to track patients' drug use. The programs would flag cases indicating a pattern of abuse, such as ``doctor shopping,'' where a patient gets prescriptions for drugs from multiple physicians.
Federal officials also plan to seek out pharmacies that sell controlled substances illegally over the Internet, which will entail deploying modern Web-crawler technology. to search out those peddling prescription drugs online.
Under President Bush's proposed 2005 budget, funds to attack the illicit use of prescription drugs would increase by $20 million, to $138 million. Most of the money would be directed at reducing the abuse of opium- and morphine-based painkillers, which are among the most widely prescribed medications.
Pain doctors and some advocates for patients with chronic pain say the government has become overzealous and has created a "chilling effect" that keeps many doctors from prescribing painkillers that patients need. They argue that the more pressing problem regarding painkillers is that so many patients in pain are not getting them.
What effect will this have on consumers? Plenty.
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