Prescription Drug Abuse

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San Diego Emergency Departments Consider New Guidelines to Crack Down on Painkiller Abuse

By Kenny Goldberg, KPBS

More than 260 San Diegans died from drug overdoses in 2011. The vast majority of these deaths were linked to prescription painkillers like Oxycontin and Percocet.

Hospital emergency departments in San Diego are now reevaluating their role in dispensing these medications.

Bobby Stevens, not his real name, first started popping Oxycontin when he was in high school in northern San Diego county. His classmates used to hand it out at parties.

Stevens soon became hooked. At the height of his addiction, he was taking up to 20 Oxycontin pills a day, plus the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and the amphetamine Adderall. He was spending $1500 a week on his habit. Continue reading

Emotional Hearing about Future of Medical Board of California

By Scott Detrow, KQED

A bureaucratic hearing in Sacramento took an emotional Monday morning, as parent after parent told state legislators how their children died from overdosing on prescription drugs.

The parents who testified during the Medical Board of California’s “sunset review” hearing all said the agency should do more to crack down on doctors who abuse their prescription-writing powers.

Tammy Smick, of Downey, says she’s outraged the doctors who gave prescriptions to her drug-addicted son Alex are still practicing medicine. “What has the California Medical Board done about the death of our son? As far as I can tell, absolutely nothing, and that is just shameful,” she told the panel of senators and assembly members. Continue reading