U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) was joined by several members of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse for a forum moderated by Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership at Drugfree.org at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit, hosted by Operation UNITE in Orlando, Florida. U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), U.S. Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA), and U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) were part of the bi-partisan panel that also featured a special video message from U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV).
"We've nearly doubled the number of Members on the Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus since the first Summit last April, thanks to the people who went home and urged their Members of Congress to get involved," Rogers said, commending the proactive crowd. "Since then, we've also authored several pieces of legislation that are vital to the drug abuse epidemic, the majority of which would be unnecessary if the FDA would make the changes on its own."
Four current drug-related bills in U.S. House of Representatives include The Safe Prescribing Act (H.R. 1285), The Stop Oxy Abuse Act (H.R. 1366), The Stop Tampering of Prescription Pills (STOPP) Act (H.R. 486), and Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (H.R. 672). During the Summit, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Dr. Margaret "Peggy" Hamburg confirmed the FDA has the authority to require abuse-deterrent technologies and reschedule or reclassify prescription painkillers without Congressional action.
"We have a domestic enemy," said Congressman Grimm. "In 2010, 12 million people admitted they used prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons."
"We have to act now on this," said Congressman Keating. "As we learned from [the CDC Director] Dr. Thomas Frieden's presentation, there is an absolute parallel in the increase of opioid sales and addiction."
"What we want, is for addicts to be healed," said Congressman Webster, whose home Congressional District in Central Florida is hosting the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit. "We could just incarerate people, but that doesn't work. We need to do more."
After the Congressional Forum concluded, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi shared recent success rates in the battle against prescription drug abuse in their home states.
The Summit continues through Thursday, April 4th.