In my 3/30 post, I mentioned that I’ll be attending the National Prescription Drug Abuse Summit in Orlando FL April 10-12.
My book, Defining Moments, was read by the founders of UNITE, an organization out of Kentucky (Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education) who has spearheaded this first ever RX Summit. UNITE loved my book and the overarching message in many ways and were very excited to share it with so many like minded people looking for reform, education and awareness in prescription drug abuse and addiction. After talking with them, I offered to donate 650 books to include in the registration packets to all attendees. So, my first book, Defining Moments, will be in every goody bag that participants walk away with.
This will put my book in a lot of hands of very important people in this world. These are 650 people who are at the top level of the effort to bring reform to RX drug abuse. Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen and even the Attorney General of the US will be getting my book. Attendees are from 35 states and 3 countries.
There is a lot that needs to be done, including pursuing and prosecuting doctors like Dr. Feelgood Dr. Hsui-Ying Tseng from LA County, who was busted and charged with murder, as she should be! Drug dealing doctors must be aggressively investigated and punished! But education for well-meaning doctors is a great step too. There’s so much to say about it all.
The attack on this epidemic has got to come from a few angles: Regulate the doctors and prescribing pharmacies in some way so as to assure that people who are really suffering can access the pills and others cannot, and pursue/shutter the pill mills, prosecute the doctors like Dr. Feelgood; Punish big pharm for irresponsibility in manufacturing and making false claims (see my post from Oct. 12, 2011 regarding how Purdue first claimed that Oxy was non-addictive); and educate the public about locking up their meds.
This week, my local paper, The Sac Bee, published CDC data that ”Opioid pain relievers, the category that includes oxycodone and hydrocodone, caused 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008 alone, and the death toll is rising.” And that, “Nationwide, pharmacies received and ultimately dispensed the equivalent of 69 tons of pure oxycodone and 42 tons of pure hydrocodone in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available. That’s enough to give 40 5-mg Percocets and 24 5-mg Vicodins to every person in the United States.”
This same article quoted a New York teenager Makenzie Emerson saying she started stealing her mother’s prescribed oxycodone in 2009 and was soon “popping six pills at a time. ‘When I would go over to friends’ houses I would raid their medicine cabinets because I knew their parents were most likely taking something,’” they quoted the 19 year old as saying.
Clearly this is an epidemic with lots of places to start. I’m looking forward to hearing more at the summit in Florida next week.
I’ll be signing books, so please stop by my table and say hello. Be sure to sign up for my occasional newsletter, and you will get more news, links to other bloggers, updates about my son’s remission, and other stories about my encounters in this growing world of prescription drug abuse awareness activism.