In the wake of a new "pill mill" probe in Florida, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, announced today that she is stepping up her investigation into prescription drug abuse, which claims the lives of approximately 20,000 people each year and is now the fastest growing drug problem in America. A series of Congressional hearings are planned for the coming months.
Last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) suspended the licenses of a large health care company and two pharmacies in Florida because of shipments of an unusually high number of painkillers. Bono Mack says more needs to be done to save lives.
"According to a recent national survey, some 7 million people aged 12 or older regularly abuse prescription drugs, and there are approximately 7,000 new abusers every day -- many of them teenagers and young adults," Bono Mack said. "This alarming trend is taking a huge toll on our society.
"Congress and our federal agencies need to make it much more difficult for rogue pain clinics and unscrupulous doctors to operate, and we should treat offenders like any other street drug dealer. By better coordinating the efforts of local, state and national agencies -- and by reducing the supply of highly-addictive narcotic painkillers -- we can eventually save thousands of lives and spare millions of families from the heartache of addiction."
Chairman Bono Mack, who has led the fight on Capitol Hill against prescription drug abuse, has directed her subcommittee staff to begin, among other things, examining ways to strengthen our nation's drug supply chain. Today, Bono Mack sent letters to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, seeking additional information about efforts underway in Florida to curb the state's ongoing problems with the abuse of painkillers. Bono Mack also serves as Co-Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse.