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[ATG] Symposium targets remedies to Rx drug abuse epidemic
Start Date: 12/19/2012 All Day
End Date: 12/19/2012
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller called on a crowd of more than 450 at the 3rd Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium to help stop the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.

Indiana’s health professionals, law enforcement officials, legislators and other stakeholders gathered today in Indianapolis to collaborate and share ideas. The one-day event titled, “Targeting Strategies to Curb the Epidemic in Indiana,” was hosted by the Attorney General’s Office in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration, PATCtech digital forensics and the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. 

“Today’s training event is really a call to action to its participants,” Zoeller said. “It is critical we target and implement solutions now to help save the lives of so many Hoosiers who abuse prescription pain medication. This threat is not going away and it is important our state use all available resources to generate and implement sound comprehensive policies.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 7 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs — more than the number using cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined.

So far this month, two Indiana physicians’ licenses were temporarily suspended for allegedly over-prescribing addictive pain medications. Dr. Lea Marlow of the Clark County Wellness Center in Jeffersonville prescribed more than 8,000 prescriptions for 3,489 patients – with more than 95 percent receiving Oxycodone. Dr. William Hedrick of the Centers for Pain Relief in Northern Indiana was suspended after numerous patients died from multiple drug toxicity while in his care. Complaints are set to be filed against the physicians and will be heard by the Medical Licensing Board on Jan. 24.

Zoeller said the growing number of cases involving licensed health professionals caught diverting drugs, overprescribing or fraudulently writing prescriptions is one reason he created the Prescription Drug Abuse Taskforce. Zoeller chairs the task force which is made up of state legislators, law enforcement, health officials, pharmacists, state and local agencies and education providers.

The task force is set to make recommendations for new rules, regulations and state statutes, and plans to publish a strategic comprehensive report of its findings.

In 2010, 654 Hoosiers died from unintentional drug overdoses according to the Indiana State Department of Health. To help warn consumers of the dangers of prescription drug abuse, the Attorney General’s Office recently placed 10 billboards across the state which read, “Every 25 minutes someone dies from a prescription drug overdose.” 

-30-

Contact Information:
Name: Erin Reece
Phone: 317.232.0168
Email: Erin.Reece@atg.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • About Indiana
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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