This photo taken Aug. 5, 2010 shows dottles of drugs commonly targeted by thieves at Hospital Discount Pharmacy that was robbed in July in Edmond, Okla. Across the country, pharmacy robberies are on the rise, partly because of the increasing demand for prescription drugs, according to law enforcement officers and industry officials. Prescription painkillers rank second behind marijuana as the country’s most common illegal drug problem, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Public health experts say the abuse of prescription medication is the fasting-growing drug problem in the United States. A new Obama administration initiative aims to reduce addiction levels by 15 percent over the next five years. Among others elements, it would require doctors to receive special training for prescribing painkillers. Many in law enforcement laud the proposals. But people who need powerful drugs to manage chronic pain are concerned. They fear tougher rules for physicians will make it harder for them to get relief. An update on what’s being called a public health epidemic.