Prescription drug abuse has risen nationwide over the past 10 years. These medications have legitimate medical uses, including for persons recovering from surgery or another injury, but many are also highly addictive.
Georgia saw a significant increase in prescription drug abuse after 2010. This increase led to the creation of the Georgia Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Collaborative (“GADAPC”). The group hopes to decrease illegal prescription drug use by giving attention to four key strategies.
In 2017, Georgia enacted a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (“PDMP”). Many nearby states had previously adopted such programs to curb the trafficking of medications. Under the PDMP, persons prescribing or issuing certain drugs must register with the program. Before writing or filling a prescription for benzodiazepines or opiate or cocaine-derived medications for a first-time patient, the doctor or pharmacist must check the registry to see if the patient has any outstanding prescriptions.
Law enforcement has established tip lines for persons to call to report illegal use of medications. Other enforcement efforts focus on weeding out “pill mills” and preventing doctor shopping for prescriptions.
The GADAPC engages in community outreach programs to provide information to vulnerable populations regarding the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Education topics include the highly addictive nature of certain medications and information on programs available to prevent misuse.
An essential part of the deterrence of prescription drug abuse is proper disposal. The collaborative supports programs that promote the destruction of unused medications.
Abuse of prescription drugs is a serious problem that has destroyed lives. Georgia’s actions seek to help curb the problem.