U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) co-sponsored the Stop Oxy Abuse Act of 2013 that was introduced on Thursday, March 21, 2013. This bill revises the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classification to ensure that Oxycontin is prescribed only for severe pain, rather than the current FDA guidance of "moderate to severe."
"Far too many young people in my region have fallen victim to the abuse of prescription drugs and tragically lost their lives to addiction," said Rogers, co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. "If we want to get serious about keeping these powerful narcotics out of the hands of our children and halting the lawlessness that comes with drug diversion, then we must ensure that these drugs are limited to only those who truly need it. I'm proud to join Congressman Stephen Lynch as a co-sponsor of this bill so that we can limit the use of dangerous drugs, such as Oxycontin, and ensure that they are being used to help and not hurt our communities."
OxyContin was originally intended to be prescribed only for severe pain to help individuals battling with late stages of cancer and other severe illnesses. However, as time wore on, more and more individuals were prescribed this drug for less severe pain, heightening the potential for abuse and addiction of this powerful narcotic.
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control declared a worsening "epidemic" of overdose deaths associated with opioid painkillers, as these drugs were involved in 14,800 deaths that year. More recently, Source Safe Kids Worldwide released a report showing that a child is treated in the Emergency Room for medicine poisoning every eight minutes in the United States, and NIDA's 2010 Monitoring the Future Study shows that two-thirds of students who misused prescription drugs obtained the medicines from friends or relatives.
At the 2013 National Rx Drug Abuse Summit April 2-4 in Orlando, Florida, Rogers will deliver a keynote address and participate in a Congressional Panel on Prescription Drug Abuse. In 2009, Rogers joined with former Representative Mary Bono Mack to form the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. Rogers has served Kentucky's 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia's natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit http://halrogers.house.gov or follow Rogers on Twitter and Facebook.