252249 Prescription Drug Diversion and Accidental Drug Overdose

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 10:50 AM

Nicholas Reuter, MPH , Division of Pharmacologic Therapies, SAMHSA/CSAT, Rockville, MD
Accidental drug overdoses continue to be a leading cause of accidental death in the United States, exceeding motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in more than one dozen States. Prescription opioid pain medications contribute the most to the recent increases. There has been a concomitant increase in the availability of these important medications. Recent survey instruments indicate that pain relievers are used for non medical use by at least 2% of the U.S. population, and each year more individuals initiate prescription drug abuse than any other illicit substance. In addition, more individuals report to hospital emergency departments as a result of prescription drug abuse than illicit substances. Friends and relatives and individual physicians have been identified as the major source of these potent narcotics. Many recent studies have identified factors that increase the risk of overdose and overdose death with these medications. Applying this research, there are several Federal initiatives underway to reduce prescription drug diversion. In addition, other jurisdictions have implemented measures to reduce overdose deaths, with successful outcomes. The initiatives involve prescriber, dispenser, consumer education, and community outreach, together with expanded access to substance abuse treatment approaches.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the dynamics and complexities associated with the increase in opioid overdose mortality. Discuss Federal Government initiatives underway to reduce morbidity and mortality in cooperation with States, communities, and other stakeholders. Demonstrate how public health initiatives have produced successful outcomes, and how initiatives can be expanded to larger populations.

Keywords: Drug Abuse Treatment, Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have considerable governmental experience in policies affecting opioid overdose prevention activities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.