The Senator has been working for the past two years to find solutions: not only to Indiana’s addiction problems, but drug problems across the nation. Appearing via conference call with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Donnelly says training medical doctors with better prescribing practices could go a long way.
“Part of the efforts that we have put in place, and are working on, is to try to educate our medical community as to how to best do this because the education has been, from all indications, almost non-existent up to this point,” says Donnelly.
An estimated 46 Americans die each day from prescription drug overdose. The Obama Administration recently announced a public information campaign to help combat the problem.
The Surgeon General traveled to Indiana last month to meet with state elected officials, and to observe the Hoosier State’s approach to managing opioid abuse. Key to Indiana’s data gathering is INSPECT, a prescription drug tracking system.
Murthy, however, says Indiana impressed him by using multiple disciplines to combat prescription drug abuse.
“This kind of collaboration of cross-sectors is what we need throughout the country,” says Murthy. “Because we know that we’re not going to incarcerate our way out of this problem. We know that we ought to recognize that addiction is not just an issue that law enforcement needs to deal with, but it’s a health issue, and that means that we’ve got to bring folks together cross-sector to deal with it.”
The drug being abused has changed over the decades, prompting differing responses from federal health officials. Murthy has stated his desire to continue combating the problem by working alongside elected representatives also searching for solutions.
Apart from better training for prescribers, other solutions to the prescription abuse crisis include better access to treatment, and providing law enforcement with Naloxone (Nahl-OX-ohn) – a drug that helps combat overdoses.