The Detroit News 11:57 p.m. EDT June 6, 2016
Addiction to opioid drugs has hit critical levels throughout the nation, prompting action from members of Congress, the White House and our own Legislature. The national effort to combat addiction to opioid painkillers, which often leads to dependence on common street heroin, can’t come soon enough. Michigan also must continue to address the epidemic.
Gov. Rick Snyder last fall established a task force on opioid abuse headed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. The task force has issued 25 recommendations and seven contingent recommendations to help prevent, treat, regulate and change policies and enforcement related to abuse and overdose of the drugs.
The Legislature has wisely taken up some of those proposals.
Legislation passed recently by the House would allocate $2.5 million to overhaul the state’s prescription tracking database, the Michigan Automated Prescription System. Bill supporters, and the task force report, found that a big part of Michigan’s opioid problem is an unreliable tracking system for doctors prescribing the drugs.
Too often this crucial system isn’t used by doctors or, more often, is sorely out of date. Revamping this tool could help prevent addiction at the source.
The proliferation of doctor-prescribed medications has directly contributed to the upsurge in painkiller addiction and heroin use, which has increased 11-fold between 2000 and 2013.
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