Prescription pill sales soar in US
Raises fear of drug addictions
- Duration 3:48
- Date Apr 6, 2012
Raises fear of drug addictions
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Well there is a new AP report that shows that Americans are downing massive amounts of prescription pills.
And this is fueling fears of a nationwide epidemic.
-- this right now seven million people in this country use prescription drugs for non medical -- seven million.
This dwarfs the one and a half million people in the United States who are addicted to cocaine it is a huge problem.
Deaths from painkillers.
In the last ten years to nearly 151000.
People who have died from addiction to these painkillers.
Far surpassing the number of those who have died from heroin and cocaine abuse combines.
Think about that.
Joined now by doctor William we have Horner who is a former emergency room doctor.
And former chief operating officer for blue cross blue shield he's also a former assistant secretary of defense.
For health affairs.
Doctor welcome good to have you here today nice to be here today I I think it's so important to shed light on this issue and to talk about it because it is in many ways it -- -- -- that the sleeping killer in this country right now.
There's no question about that it is a big problem it's getting worse and we need to be more aggressive in dealing with it the volume.
Use a per -- and painkillers has gone up by over a 1500.
-- -- 1000% in the last decade.
-- let another statistic to the one you shared and that is that.
In 2010 most recent year for which we have information.
Of oxy code own in Hydro code under two active ingredients in these narcotic painkillers.
Was was prescribed and that's enough for 65.
For every single American wow -- -- about that I mean is just stunning there's so there's it's a big problem.
You know -- when you look at it think about marijuana -- think about cocaine you think about other drugs and when you go after them you try to crack down on them getting illegally into the country for example and then the drug trade in those.
Is illegal a lot of it -- -- -- house.
You put that to decided you look at this issue in order to get -- you've got to have a prescription from a doctor or forged prescription.
At the very worst from a doctor.
-- you've got to get it I'm a pharmacy that that apparent that should have some kind of record.
About your prescriptions and when is the right time for them to be -- -- Well that's right and in this case there are pretty good records electronically for the volume of these medications.
And in this case the story today was about the DEA actually looking at the chain drugstores.
CBS they -- it looked at recently.
Cardinal Health now Walgreens.
And others and as surely there there's a need to look at that.
But I would -- -- speaking as a position you start where the doctor.
The doctor have to write that prescription.
That's where it starts and I think the state medical boards.
As well as the health insurance plans -- who also know what these doctors are doing they have rockers they can get out.
They need to go after these bad actors some of it is really truly bad actors.
Others of it is.
You know mom or dad has surgery and really probably too much prescription painkillers given post surgery.
And then the young child goes and the teenager to steal pills out of bomber dead -- medicine cabinet and that's part of the problem as well.
-- in the -- as you point I gotta get it at every step of the chain and the doctor the pharmacy and then you know the use at home.
A lot of times people are prescribe these things for legitimate purposes and then I have a really difficult time getting off of them.
And become addicted to them doctor thank you so much -- good to speak with you -- -- we'll talk more about this in the future nice to be with you thanks doctor.