Prescription drug abuse: what is being done to address this new drug epidemic? Testimony before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources

Pain Physician. 2006 Oct;9(4):287-321.


This comprehensive health policy review of the prescription drug abuse epidemic is based on the written and oral testimony of witnesses at a July 26, 2006 Congressional Hearing, including that of Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD, the chief executive officer of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians and additions from review of the literature. Honorable Mark E. Souder, chairman of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources, introduced the issue as follows: "Prescription drug abuse today is second only to marijuana abuse. In the most recent household survey, initiates to drug abuse started with prescription drugs (especially pain medications) more often than with marijuana. The abuse of prescription drugs is facilitated by easy access (via physicians, the Internet, and the medicine cabinet) and a perception of safety (since the drugs are FDA approved). In addition to the personal toll of drug abuse using prescription drugs, indirect costs associated with prescription drug abuse and diversion include product theft, commission of other crimes to support addiction, law enforcement costs, and encouraging the practice of defensive medicine." The Administration witnesses, Bertha Madras, Nora D. Volkow, MD, Sandra Kweder, MD, and Joe Rannazzisi reviewed the problem of drug abuse and discussed what is being done at the present time as well as future strategies to combat drug abuse, including prescription drug monitoring programs, reducing malprescriptions, public education, eliminating Internet drug pharmacies, and the development of future drugs which are not only tamper-resistant but also non-addictive. The second panel, consisting of consumers and advocates, included Misty Fetco, Linda Surks, and Barbara van Rooyan, all of whom lost their children to drugs, presented their stories and strategies to prevent drug abuse, focusing on education at all levels, development of resistant drugs, and non-opioid treatment of chronic pain. Mathea Falco, JD, and Stephen E. Johnson presented issues related to drug abuse and measures to curb drug abuse by various means. Stephen J. Pasierb presented startling statistics on teen drug abuse and various educational programs to deter abuse. Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD presented an overview of prescription drug abuse, strategies to prevent drug abuse, including immediate funding and rapid implementation of NASPER, education at all levels and improving relations with the DEA and the provider community.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Community Participation / trends
  • Criminal Law / statistics & numerical data
  • Criminal Law / trends
  • Drug Prescriptions / standards*
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / methods
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / trends*
  • Humans
  • Malpractice / economics
  • Malpractice / statistics & numerical data
  • Malpractice / trends
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / economics
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Pain, Intractable / drug therapy
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards
  • Patient Education as Topic / trends
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Analgesics, Opioid