National system needed to battle pill abuse, newspaper says

Despite Georgia’s recent move to implement a system that will track prescription pill use, a national system is needed to help prevent the problem flowing “to the next crack in the system,” the Lexington Herald-Leader says in an editorial today.

“We know it’s popular now to howl about big government,” the paper says. “But if a national government has any legitimate use, it is certainly to stop something like the pill pipeline that operates across state lines. . . . “As long as even a few states don’t have monitoring systems the market will move to those areas of opportunity.”
The piece cites a story that ran in the Herald-Leader May 17. In it, reporter Bill Estep discussed Georgia’s move to approve a tracking system, meant to prevent people from “doctor shopping,” filling the resulting prescriptions and selling the pills illegally. “Florida has been the leading source of pills flowing into Kentucky from outside the state, but Georgia has been a growing source of concern,” Estep reported.
While Georgia’s monitoring system is approved, money is still needed to fund it. “We hope Georgia will get those grants. But we’d be more optimistic if funding weren’t based on hope,” the paper says. “There’s every indication the rate of prescription drug abuse is outpacing the monitoring system.”
The editorial notes that overdose deaths in Kentucky continue to rise, doubling from 403 in 2000 to 978 in 2009: “Confirmed overdose deaths in Floyd County jumped from 15 in 2009 to 43 in 2010, according to Brent Turner, the commonwealth’s attorney there. Florida averages seven overdose deaths a day.” (Read more)
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