Setting out a four-part science-based strategy for reducing illicit drug use, the White House 2014 National Drug Control Strategy (PDF) includes a focus on reducing heroin and prescription painkiller abuse and overdose, which have spiked dramatically in recent years. Released annually, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) strategy document serves as a national blueprint for drug policy in the United States.
The 2014 policy calls for four main approaches to battling drug abuse nationwide:
- Preventing drug use through education programs,
- Expanding access to treatment for those struggling with addiction,
- Reforming the criminal justice system to break the cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration, and
- Reducing the stigma associated with substance use and supporting those in recovery.
To fight opioid abuse and overdose, the White House encourages states to institute laws that allow citizens access to naloxone, distributes publications such as the Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit, and works with local and federal authorities to crack down on black market trade.
More information is available in a press release from ONDCP.
NABP and its member boards have been working on several fronts to help combat the prescription drug abuse epidemic. NABP’s AWARXE® Prescription Drug Safety Program helps to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse and the importance of prevention efforts, including safe medication use, storage, and disposal. The NABP PMP InterConnect® program now connects 26 state PMPs, allowing for the secure sharing of PMP data across state borders. In May 2014, NABP and the Anti-Diversion Industry Working Group, a consortium of pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, released a video called “Red Flags,” which helps pharmacists and other pharmacy personnel recognize signs of potential prescription drug abuse or diversion.