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The Fight Against Prescription Drug Abuse in America University of South Alabama Deana Lee McHugh Prescription drug abuse is now considered an epidemic in the United States especially among teens and young adults. Nearly one-third of all people twelve and older that have used drugs, started with a prescription drug that was used for a nonmedical reason (www.whitehouse.gov). The general public and the federal government must come together to stop this growing problem. Legislatures must be contacted, laws must be passed and education must be provided. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how prescription drug abuse affects our nation socially, economically, ethically and politically. It will also discuss goals on how to help correct this problem as well as options and alternatives in achieving these goals. Policy Problem Prescription painkillers are costing the US more than $70 Billion per year. Insurers are spending approximately $15,000 for patients who have multiple physicians and “pill shop” from these doctors. For patients that have Medicare, it's the average American workers dollars that are being stolen. (O’Toole 2012). Because prescription drug abuse is such a rapidly growing problem we need to explore ways to intervene. Coming up with solutions to this problem will not only decrease economic costs, but human costs as well. Misuse of these medications is making the cost skyrocket for those that have a need for them. How do we decrease the prescription drug abuse problem without completely taking away a practitioners ability to prescribe these certain medications for patients that truly have the need for them? Background The history of prescription drug abuse in America goes back hundred of years (www.narconon.org). One of the first known drugs was called Laudanum. This drug was an opium and alcohol mixed. It was used for the purpose of

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