COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Drug makers should do more to help pay for public service announcements in the fight against prescription painkiller abuse, the White House drug czar said Tuesday during a two-day Ohio summit on the painkiller epidemic.
Gil Kerlikowskie, Office of National Drug Control Policy director, also said that educating doctors about prescribing practices is better than placing quotas on painkiller production.
In recent conversations with dentists, the practitioners said addicts are always pressing for prescriptions, Kerlikowskie said.
"Addicts will figure out ways to get these, so I don't think that the quota in the long run or even the short run is a particularly good answer to reducing the problem," he said.
The drug industry rejected Kerlikowskie's comments about public service spending, saying the major trade association and individual companies have sponsored a number of initiatives to educate people about painkiller abuse.
Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, a drug implicated in many overdose deaths, has long used public service announcements to educate the public about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, said spokesman James Heins.
Ohio and several other states are struggling to combat the painkiller epidemic, which has resulted in drug overdose deaths surpassing car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in more than a dozen states.
In another disturbing trend, new research says the number of U.S. babies born with signs of opiate drug withdrawal has tripled in a decade because of a surge in pregnant women's use of legal and illegal narcotics, including Vicodin, OxyContin and heroin.
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