The White House

Office of the National Drug Control Policy

Readout of ONDCP Meeting with Maryland Officials to Discuss Prescription Drug Abuse Overdose Deaths and Obama Administration Response

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Regina LaBelle, Chief of Staff for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), visited Elkton, Maryland to participate in a roundtable discussion with top state and local officials from the State of Maryland.  During the discussion, LaBelle shared the latest data on the state of the prescription drug abuse epidemic, the Obama Administration’s comprehensive plan to address the threat, and how Federal, State, and local authorities can work more closely together to save lives and prevent abuse. Participants in the discussion included Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Joshua Sharfstein, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Cecil County public health and safety officials. 

Drug overdoses are a major cause of preventable death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 100 Americans died from overdose every day in 2010.[i]  Prescription drugs were involved in at least half of the more than 38,300 overdose deaths that year, and opioid pain relievers were involved in over 16,600.[ii]  Drug overdose deaths outnumber deaths from gunshot wounds or motor vehicle crashes. 

To address this challenge, in 2010, the Obama Administration released Epidemic: Responding to America's Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis. A national framework for reducing prescription drug diversion and abuse, the plan supports the expansion of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs, more convenient and environmentally responsible disposal methods to remove unused medications from the home, education for patients and healthcare providers, and reducing the prevalence of pill mills and doctor shopping through enforcement efforts.

As a result of comprehensive action, the abuse of prescription drugs is beginning to decline for the first time in a decade. According to recent data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the number of Americans 12 and older that had used a prescription drug non-medically in the past month declined from 7.0 million in 2010 to 6.1 million in 2011, a 12 percent decrease compared to 2010. This decline was driven primarily by a decrease in non-medical use among young adults (18-25 years of age). 

For more information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy, visit:

http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/ONDCP

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[i] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 2000-2010 on CDC WONDER Online Database. Extracted December 12, 2012.

[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 2000-2010 on CDC WONDER Online Database. Extracted February 11, 2013.