Organizing to address prescription drug addiction

Richard Hamburg, deputy director at Trust For America’s Health (TFAH) will be the featured speaker on a conference call Tuesday, Oct. 15, addressing prescription drug abuse.

According to a new report by TFAH, prescription drug abuse has quickly become a top public-health concern, as the number of drug overdose deaths — a majority of which are from prescription drugs — doubled in 29 states since 1999. The rates quadrupled in four of these states and tripled in 10 more of them. Prescription drug related deaths now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined, and drug overdose deaths exceed motor-vehicle-related deaths in 29 states and Washington, D.C.

Misuse and abuse of prescription medications have taken a devastating toll on the public health.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has characterized prescription drug overdose as an epidemic, a label that underscores the need for urgent policy, program, and community-led responses.

“The misuse and abuse of prescription medications have taken a devastating toll on the public health and safety of our nation,” said R. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Increases in substance-abuse treatment admissions, emergency-department visits, and, most disturbingly, overdose deaths attributable to prescription drug abuse place enormous burdens upon communities across the country.”

Look at implications

The conference call, sponsored by the Geneal Board of Church & Society’s Alcohol, Other Addictions & Health Care work area, will be at 12:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) Tuesday, Oct. 15.

The call will look at the implications of this epidemic for those whose primary concern is organizing to effectively address addiction? It will offer effective strategies to address this growing problem.

Hamburg has more than 25 years of experience as a leading health-policy advocate. At TFAH, he oversees public-policy initiatives, advocacy campaigns, and internal operations.

Hamburg has led TFAH's efforts to ensure that disease prevention is a centerpiece of health reform. In doing so he has been instrumental in TFAH's work on obesity prevention, building national pandemic flu and public-health emergency-response capabilities, and increasing support for public-health priorities and budgets.

‘Strategies to Stop Epidemic’

TFAH’s new report is available for download at “Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic

To participate in the addictions organizing conference call, go to RSVP.

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