Prescription drug abuse is more than a problem; it is an epidemic with a 400 percent increase over the last decade.
In regard to your article, “Prescription addiction” (April 5), you should mention there are physicians trained to prescribe medications that are effective in helping drug addicts to stop abusing drugs. Substance abuse is a true medical disease with many proven treatments available.
Clearly, over-prescribing and inappropriate prescribing of DEA-controlled medications by doctors is a significant problem, but more than 70 percent of those abusing pharmaceutical medications for the first time do not get them from a physician, but from a family member or friend. In general, physicians are extremely vigilant to prevent abuse and diversion of the medications they prescribe.
We should work together to remove the stigma of being an addict. It is not a choice people make, but a curse they bear. Addicts need treatment and should not be judged any more than those with diabetes or high blood pressure. Every dollar spent on the treatment of drug addiction saves more than $7 in cost to society. It is unfortunate we burden the criminal justice system to deal with the late effects of drug addiction instead of using those resources to treat addicts instead of punishing them.