Senators Pare Back Prescription Drug Abuse Plan

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland state senators want to limit who would report to the state under a monitoring plan aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse.

The Senate on Friday is expected to debate a measure that would establish the state as a data warehouse on prescriptions to help officials curb a rise in prescription drug-related deaths.

Lawmakers outlined a slew of amendments Thursday that would exempt veterinarians and retirement homes from having to report their distribution of prescription painkillers — including OxyContin and other highly addictive opioids — limit access to the data collected and establish an advisory board.

The state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported this year that the number of prescription-drug abusers seeking treatment in Maryland almost doubled between 2007 and 2010. But better information — including where people are getting the prescriptions and how many are abusing the drugs but have yet to suffer dire effects — is hard to come by.

“The fact is that we’ve got people who are in the pipeline for these really tragic endings,” said Frances Phillips, the state’s deputy secretary for public health.

The state currently tracks prescription drug abuse by admissions for drug treatment, calls to the state’s poison control hotline and reports from the state medical examiner, Phillips said.

The monitoring program would track prescriptions of certain drugs (listed on the federal government’s Controlled Dangerous Substances schedules 2-5) when they are filled at pharmacies

The amendments being sought by senators would exempt places unlikely to be providing the most frequently abused drugs — such as the painkillers OxyContin and Vicodin, Phillips said.

Maryland is one of six states that does not monitor prescriptions. The General Assembly passed such a measure in 2006, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich.

“These pills are going for $30 a piece on the street, the kids are breaking them up and snorting them,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Calvert. “Then the people who work in the doctor’s office are stealing the doctor’s pads, giving them to their boyfriends, their boyfriends get the fraudulent prescription and then when the druggist calls back to the doctor’s office and says ‘Is this okay?’ the lady answers the phone and says ‘Yes, that’s okay.'”

“We are behind the 8 ball and it’s an epidemic,” Miller said.

A call to the Maryland State Medical Society, MedChi, which has opposed certain parts of the proposal, was not returned Thursday afternoon.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


One Comment

  1. sven says:

    Maryland still hasn’t recorded its first marijuana overdose, but keep those prescription pain killers coming into our children’s hands via pharmacies err I mean State approved legal drug dealers. Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene should be classified as the state’s NUMBER ONE KINGPIN.

  2. Herman Glimsher says:


    1. sven says:

      Hey Herm, please prove me wrong. You can’t you hypocrite. Talk about a head filled with nothing. Keep believing what they tell you on TV! Please try and prove me wrong. Government propaganda is probably all you know. Try reading someday if you finished grade school!

  3. sven says:

    Herman, people die in car accidents because of texting, playing with the radio, eating, drinking, using cell phones and all other kinds of reasons.

    The top causes of drug overdoses are oxycontin, methadone, pentobarbital, valium, codeine, phenobarbital, xanax, vicodin, clonazepan, klonopin, lorazepam, serax, hydrocondone, alprazolam, , pentobarbital and cocaine. I don’t see marijuana in that list as a matter of fact, I only see one street drug on that list. The rest are all man-made by government approved big time drug kingpins which you most probably work for or represent.
    The top cash crops in the world include apples, cotton, potatoes, almonds, tea, oilseed, wheat, tomatoes, other vegetables, cardamon, other fruits and……….you guessed it you ignorant, television educated JACKA$$, marijuana the #1 cash crop in the USA. BTW, this used to be a required crop of all farmers in this country. I wonder why all of these other naturally grown crops aren’t illegal?
    At least, all us stupid weedheads aren’t ignorant or vile like yourself.

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