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The White House
For Immediate Release

Readout of Director Kerlikowske's Meeting with Federal Officials to Discuss Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic and Administration Response

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), convened top officials from the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to share data regarding the state of prescription drug abuse in America and ensure continued action is being taken by Federal agencies to reduce and prevent prescription drug abuse nationwide.

According to new 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). 

The significant progress being made is a result of comprehensive actions being taken at the Federal, state, and local level.  Today: there are 49 states that have instituted Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to combat doctor shopping; the DEA has collected and safely disposed of more than two million pounds of expired or unneeded medications through nationwide take back efforts; and law enforcement agencies have cracked down on pill mills.

As part of this comprehensive effort, last month ONDCP joined the National Institute on Drug Abuse to announce new training materials for prescribers of opioid analgesics, which include video vignettes modeling doctor-patient conversations on the safe and effective use of opioid pain medications.  More than 10,000 health care professionals have already taken these training modules and earned CME credits. These tools represent an important step forward in strengthening education for healthcare providers and improving patient safety.

“New information indicates that we may be turning a corner when it comes to our nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic,” said Director Kerlikowske.  “While these new trends are promising, we remain focused on addressing this challenge in a comprehensive way.” 

Last year, the 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.

For more information visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/ONDCP

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