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DEA introduces new drug take-back program to combat prescription drug abuse

A new Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rule aims to combat a growing epidemic of prescription drug addiction and abuse by authorizing pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and others to serve as drop-off sites for unused prescription medications. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the new regulation will help save lives and protect families from the dangers of prescription drug misuse. In 2011, unintentional prescription drug overdoses accounted for more than half of the 41,300 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Prescription opioids, which are increasingly prescribed for pain relief, are particularly addictive and likely to be abused. Opioid pain killer overdose caused ... Read More

Prescription drug deaths rise for 11th consecutive year

The number of prescription drug-induced deaths rose for the 11th straight year, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis. Most of the drug deaths were accidents involving potent painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin. “This is a big problem that has gotten much worse quickly,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. Prescription drug deaths continue to rise despite efforts to raise awareness of the risks among doctors and patients. The CDC reported a total of 38,329 drug-overdose fatalities nationwide in 2010. Nearly 60 percent of those deaths involved medicines, most of them prescription drugs. In 2009, the ... Read More

Olsen twins decorate line of handbags with prescription pills

America’s love of prescription drugs sometimes manifests in bizarre, unexpected ways. In December, various fashion and entertainment media reported that diva twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen released a line of black patent-leather crocodile skin handbags studded not with precious stones but with … prescription pills? Ironically, an undisclosed portion of the proceeds from the controversial handbags, which retailed in limited quantities at $55,000 each, were donated to UNICEF, the arm of the United Nations Fund devoted to the well-being of children. Perhaps glamorizing drug use by attaching multicolored capsule and tablet appliques to designer handbags wouldn’t be so strange if it were ... Read More

Consumers Union fights for more oversight of medical devices

The Consumers Union (CU) is hoping to close a loophole in the approvals of medical devices that allows them to be cleared for marketing in the United States with almost no government regulation, testing or monitoring. According to its mission statement, CU is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. CU also publishes the magazine Consumer Reports and the website ConsumerReports.org. Currently, medical devices considered moderate-risk, such as transvaginal mesh and artificial hips, are approved through an accelerated process that ... Read More

Prescription drug overdose and abuse now the leading cause of death in U.S.

Public health experts are warning that an epidemic of pharmaceutical drug injuries has broken out nationwide, likely fueled by the ever-growing number of prescriptions written for the relief of pain and anxiety. According to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of drug deaths exceeded the number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. for the first time in 2009, becoming the leading cause of death in the U.S. At least 37,485 people died from prescription drug injuries in 2009 — 1201 more than the number of people killed in traffic accidents during the same ... Read More