Watch Update (Posted 03-12-01; last updated 04-11-01):
There are early indicators that Drug Enforcement officials are positioning themselves to escalate enforcement efforts surrounding the issue of mind-altering medications for both pain and psychiatric conditions.
These indicators are:
(1) The concern of law enforcement officials with the prescription drug OxyContin;
(2) The increased air-time coverage on CNN, CNBC, and local News affiliates of the potential harm in prescription drugs in January -March of 2001;
(3) Initial reports from the United Nations that Americans routinely abuse and are becoming dependent upon mood altering psychoactive prescribed medications;
(4) Increased number of news releases from Associated Press distributed through AOL on the dangers of OxyContin Abuse (01-03-02 & 03-12-01) which are biased in favor war on drug supply reduction methods and deletes any reference to drug prevention and treatment alternatives.
(5) The Release of the NIDA Prescription Drug Report
(6) Extensive news coverage on the supposed ability to buy controlled mind altering substances on the internet and the need for increased government regulation of internet pharmacies.
NIDA reports that the nonmedical abuse of prescription drugs - especially opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants - remains a serious public health concern because when abused they can alter the brain's activity and lead to dependence and possibly addiction. An estimated 4 million people aged 12 and older used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in 1999; almost half of that number reported using prescription drugs nonmedically for the first time in the previous year. We would like to reverse this trend by increasing awareness and promoting additional research on this topic. A recent national survey of primary care physicians reported that 46.6 percent of physicians find it difficult to discuss prescription drug abuse with their patients. (This is consistent with a growing trend to crack down on prescription drug abuse by expanding the failed War On Drugs Strategy into the control of prescription drug use.)