How much do we know about prescription drug abuse? The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recently completed a report in which it asks for the federal agencies to take further action on improving the general public’s knowledge on prescription drug abuse. They are calling for them to educate not only the general public, but also the prescribers.
From 2003 to 2009 prescription drug abuse has rapidly increase and has been misused. Federal officials have suggested that this increase in drug abuse in is due in part to increasingly availability, high-risk behavior and combining the prescription pills with alcohol or other drugs. Although due to lack of data it is not officially known if these contributed to the rapid rise of drug abuse.
Therefore the GAO has now asked other agencies to provide more information and conduct further education in hopes to decline the number of prescription abuse. Although the agencies currently provide similar strategies and educational tools there are only two agencies that have actually implemented plans to document and assess the impact of their educational efforts to the public.
The report states that “without outcome evaluations, federal agencies have limited knowledge of how effective their efforts are in achieving their goals — in this case, reducing prescription pain reliever abuse and misuse”.
Some of these agencies include the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Their practices for educating the public for drug abuse include continuing educational classes, conducting mandatory training, certification before being allowed to prescribe certain drugs and also creating literature for future prescribers.
Currently the Office of National Control Policy (ONDCP) is creating a legislative proposal in order to provide further education for any prescriber who is enrolling into the Drug Enforcement Administration as mentioned in the report. It also mentions that the ONDCP needs to begin plans to judge their educational practices and to share drug abuse lessons among other agencies.