Drug Czar Seeks To Expand Registries

By Alfa · Feb 9, 2006 · ·
  1. Alfa
    Hopes to Target Prescription-Drug Abuse
    WASHINGTON -- The White House today will announce a national anti-drug strategy that includes prodding more states to set up databases that can track people who get multiple prescriptions of frequently abused prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin.
    The strategy, to be announced in Denver today by White House drug czar John Walters, does not include any new programs, a reflection of how the tight federal budget is limiting anti-drug initiatives.
    Twenty-eight states have passed laws to set up prescription-drug registries, which are funded with a mix of federal and state money.
    President Bush's proposed budget for fiscal 2007 includes $9.9 million to help establish registries in more states, up from $7.4 million this year.
    The impact of the existing registries is unclear; the first data measuring their effectiveness will not be available until next year.
    Walters, whose office provided a copy of the strategy to USA TODAY, is focusing on 20 states that do not have prescription-drug registries and whose legislatures meet this year, plus Washington, D.C. Among the states likely to consider new registries are Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont and Washington, says John Horton, an aide to Walters.
    The registries have faced opposition from critics who have expressed concern about patients' privacy and the potential for interference in medical care.
    "We're sympathetic to registries if they are used for public-health purposes, but we're really concerned that they'll be used as a law enforcement tool," says Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance, a non-profit based in New York City that pushes for drug abuse to be treated as a health problem rather than as a criminal one. "We don't want doctors afraid to prescribe pain medication."
    Drug abusers often collect prescriptions for narcotics by visiting several doctors, Horton says. Doctors in states without registries have no way to check whether a patient is "doctor shopping" to get several prescriptions, he says.
    States with such programs require doctors and pharmacists to log prescriptions into computer registries that the medical professionals can monitor. Many states give police access to the registries.
    The nation's most extensive study of drug use among youths indicated recently that illicit drug use is down or holding steady. However, the 2005 Monitoring the Future study by the University of Michigan found that abuse of sedatives, OxyContin and inhalants is rising. It said 5.5% of high school seniors reported using OxyContin during the previous year. That represented a jump of nearly 40% since 2002.

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  1. old hippie 56
    You know the LE will abuse these registries, and doctors are scare to prescribe pain meds. Swims brother dying of brain cancer and his doctors are worried that he going get addicted. They stopped his morphine, put him on mild pain meds. Wife has progressive MS, can't even find a doctor to prescribed Marinol, which been proven to help on tremors and muscle spasms.
  2. sands of time
    Yea, let the DEA keep track of whose getting prescribed meds... A group that hates ALL drugs. If they had it they're way, people would sit through surgery fully conscious. It's not hard to see why doctors are so afraid to prescribe painkillers when they rightfully should. Meanwhile, the media is covering the growing problem of doctors sucking people into the trap of addictive prescription medicine. Whats even worse is when the media tries to blame doctors for patient overdoses. Like any doctor is gonna tell a patient to take 6 times the recommended dosage of oxycontin. Sick...
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