States crack down on prescription drug abuse

By Staff Writer

Prescription painkillers are becoming the drug of choice for a new generation of teenagers who are looking for a cheap and accessible way to get high. However, these medications can lead to powerful addictions that often require substance abuse treatment to resolve.

In an effort to make prescription drugs more difficult to attain, Massachusetts lawmakers recently passed legislation that will make it more difficult for addicts to lie to doctors to get prescriptions. The law makes patients’ drug histories available to physicians and pharmacists, which officials say will eliminate “doctor shopping.”

“This new program will provide critical data to help reduce drug overdose deaths, prevent prescription drug misuse and abuse, improve clinical information for prescribers and pharmacists, and result in higher quality health care for patients with chronic pain,” said Massachusetts Department of Public Health commissioner John Auerbach.

The new law also makes information on addiction treatment centers more available to individuals who are suspected of having a problem with prescription painkillers, and give state officials the ability to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of a greater range of drugs.