Arizona Should Add Public Drug Classes

by Mike Miller February 25, 2013

Prescription medications are a major problem in the United States today. Arizona is no exception.

According to a recent government report, Arizona had the sixth-highest level of prescription pain-reliever abuse in the nation in 2010-2011. It could have been worse. As reported in

The study showed that about 5.66 percent of Arizona residents ages 12 and above were misusing prescription drugs in that period. That compares nationally to a rate of just over 4.5%.

Good News?

That was the bad news. The good news is the rate of abuse dropped at both the state and national levels from the previous reporting period in 2009-2010, when the rates were 6.31 percent and 4.89 percent, respectively. Arizona fell from third- to sixth-highest in the nation in the same period.

Arizona officials claim responsibility for the improvement on the state’s increased effort to curb prescription medication abuse.

Why do you think so many people are suffering prescription medication abuse? In my opinion it is a combination of overprescribing by doctors, the sale of unused medication and a lack of good drug education classes about the pitfalls of prescription-drug addiction.

Part of the solution is a law passed in 2007, creating a database of patients who get prescriptions for powerful pain relievers. Doctors are encouraged, but not required, to check the database before writing a prescription to make sure patients are not doctor shopping.

I feel that accessing these databases should be mandatory for doctors prescribing certain medications. Increased vigilance combined with more Arizona drug classes will keep nipping at away at this big problem.

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