Speaking today during the first ever National Summit on Prescription Drug Abuse in Orlando, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Co-Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, called for decisive action to combat the growing and deadly rise of prescription drug abuse in America.
"I have made combating prescription drug abuse a top priority," Bono Mack said. "I believe there needs to be a national awakening about the threat this alarming epidemic poses to our families and our communities."
As one of the keynote speakers during the summit, Bono Mack urged people to get involved in stopping this epidemic, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
"We need to educate more parents and families," Bono Mack said her in speech. "Visit more schools. Warn more kids about the dangers of abuse and addiction. Prod more reporters to write stories. Urge more physicians and prescribers to join our fight. And demand more action from all of our elected public officials. If we're not successful, America will continue to be a nation constantly in mourning."
Each year, prescription drug abuse kills about 30,000 Americans and costs the U.S. more than $70 billion. In response, Bono Mack, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, which has jurisdiction over consumer protection, has introduced two bills -- The Ryan Creedon Act and the Stop Oxy Abuse Act -- which aim to educate prescribers and monitor and limit access to prescription drugs containing controlled-release oxycodone hydrochloride, including the popular painkiller OxyContin.
"This is truly an American tragedy," Bono Mack concluded. "And right now, America needs your leadership and your resolve to win this fight."
Bono Mack is participating in the three-day summit along with fellow-Caucus members Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), who will all take part in a panel discussion with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Thursday at 9:30 a.m.