Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), along with Reps Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) and Stephen Lynch (MA-09), co-chairs of the bi-partisan Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, today hosted the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Gil Kerlikowske to discuss the Administration's priorities for combating prescription drug abuse.
After spending several days in Appalachia, Director Kerlikowske reiterated the need for a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach to combating prescription drug abuse, incorporating education for the public and healthcare providers; law enforcement; proper medical disposal of unused prescription medications; and state-run prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP).
"As a result of the recent "pill mill' busts in Florida, public attention is now focused on the life-and-death struggle that addictions pose to families everywhere -- in every town, in every neighborhood in America," said Bono Mack. "Few things are more destructive. Addiction continues to be a serious and rapidly escalating problem across America. As a result, I have directed the staff of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, which I chair, to begin laying the groundwork for public hearings next month into prescription drug abuse."
"For more than a decade, Southern and Eastern Kentucky has been ground-zero for the abuse of prescription medication, and the misuse of these otherwise life-saving drugs has reached an epidemic-level nationwide," stated Rogers. "I commend Director Kerlikowske for his commitment to tackling this seemingly insurmountable challenge head-on. After spending four days in my state, I am confident he has a true appreciation for the odds we're facing in the Commonwealth, particularly where the pill pipeline from Florida is concerned. Our nation will need every resource at our disposal to knock out abuse in the long-term. Law enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation, and the engagement of youth like Hannah Eaton will all play a vital role in our nation's road to recovery."
Bono Mack and Rogers established the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug abuse to shed light on the problem and to unite like-minded policy-makers dedicated to the development of innovative and effective policy solutions. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), illegal prescription drug diversion is now our nation's fastest growing drug threat.