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Government Asks Doctors to Help Curb Drug Abuse

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The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is urging doctors to take a more active role in preventing drug abuse. The call comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data showing drug poisoning deaths increased by 6% between 2012 and 2013.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is urging doctors to take a more active role in preventing drug abuse.

The call comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data showing drug poisoning deaths increased by 6% between 2012 and 2013.

Deaths from overdoses of opioid analgesics ticked up 1%. Cocaine deaths increased 12%. Heroin deaths increased by the largest percentage of any category, jumping by 39% in 2013.

In a press release, the ONDCP said its efforts to curb prescription drug abuse are working. However, Michael Botticelli, the agency’s acting director, said the drug problem is evolving and requires a comprehensive solution to prevent drug abuse and reduce the supply of incoming drugs.

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The government is asking healthcare providers to help identify patients developing addictions and intervene where appropriate. Officials say intervention by doctors can “dramatically reduce” the possibility of a future overdose and increase the likelihood that the patient will enter treatment and recover over the long term.

“Deaths from drug overdose are tragic, and we need to scale up both prevention and treatment of addiction,” said Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, in a press release. “Most people who use heroin in the US today used prescription opioids first. Reducing inappropriate prescribing will prevent overdose from prescription opioids and heroin.”

The ONDCP is in the fourth year of its Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan, which aims to boost education and awareness around drug abuse. As part of that plan, there are now 49 prescription drug monitoring programs across the US.


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