Let’s Just Save Some Lives.
Our ultimate goal here at RxDrug Addict is to save people’s lives and start to reduce the suffering when it comes to prescription drug abuse.
The CURES Prescription Drug Monitoring program in California could provide real time info for every prescriber, under the oversight of the Department of Justice. It exists, but it hasn’t had the financial capacity to get the 200,000+ prescribers in CA into its system, and there is no money for enforcement. California used to be a leader at drug monitoring, but now we’re at the back. The problem is money. This program will cover big gaps where people are doctor shopping, doctors are not being responsible, and fill the cracks as we try to get the trend in Rx drug abuse to reverse.
Why have California’s advocates been unable to find funding to manage the state’s existing prescription drug monitoring program (CURES)? Senator Mark DeSaulnier suggests these two reasons:
1) Denial that there is a problem (the stigma surrounding addiction keeps it in the shadows. We need courage to accept it and talk about it)
2) There are people who make money with this “sanitized corruption.”
The pharmaceutical industry rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars selling opioid pain relievers in California alone. Is it too much to ask them to contribute funds to a program that will help alleviate the diversion of their product? Apparently so.
The tiny percentage that SB 809 sponsor Senator DeSaulnier and his colleagues hoped to get from Big Pharm to fund the enforcement of CURES, California’s prescription drug monitoring program, had to be eliminated in order to see that bill, which is designed to revive that program, move forward in the legislature.
According to DeSaulnier, my guest on the August 13th Afflicted by Addiction, the drug dealers at the core of our country’s prescription drug abuse epidemic (my words, not his) are so powerful that after the fourth of fifth time trying to run this bill since he’s been in the legislature, he realized that whenever he attached a fee to the pharm industry, they were strong enough to kill it in the first policy committee. He had to remove it. DeSaulnier calls this influence “sanitized corruption.”
Brian, my drug dealer guest on Afflicted by Addiction (July 9th), said he believes CURES would have shut down his business. He felt it would also stem the rising tide of addiction.
Well, you say, you can’t draw blood from a stone? Really, it’s economics 101: We could get this program fully ramped up for $15 mil a year, and have a real “Cadillac system.” DeSaulnier told us about studies that have revealed that overprescribing and prescription drug abuse costs the state’s Workman’s Comp $50 mil a year. There is a huge financial consequence in maintaining the status quo—it’s in the hundreds of millions of dollars.