Hundreds of people are attending the prescription drug abuse summit in Orlando, says the Orlando Sentinel. U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), whose home state has been battling its own prescription drug abuse problems for years, noted that tens of thousands of pills are being transported through Florida’s drug pipeline to other parts of the country. Nationally, the problem has reached epidemic proportions, says White House drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske.
“We have to attack this in a holistic way,” he said. “And that’s exactly what we are doing.” Kerlikowske told the Sentinel that prescription drugs is the number one drug problem nationally. “If you look at the number of prescriptions being written, the number of people going in for emergency department visits, prescription drugs, given the lethality and the addictive properties, are still significant,” he said. He also cited “the issue of moving from prescription drugs to heroin. That is a two-edge sword. One is that heroin is less expensive by far than the prescription drugs. We also have a group of heroin abusers that are what we call heroin naive. If you talk to people my age or people in their 40s or 50s, they know and recognize the dangers of heroin [ ] But if you talk to younger people, there is this kind of understanding that well, if I snort it or smoke it then I won’t become addicted. And then within sometimes within weeks, let alone months, they’re injecting.”