Prescription drug abuse is one of the nation’s fastest growing drug problems, creating a public health crisis that the Centers for Disease Control has classified as an epidemic. Michigan is not immune to this epidemic, which is why federal and state law enforcement agencies, along with private health care providers, have joined together to host a Prescription Drug Abuse Summit.
The two-day Summit is designed to address the myriad issues arising out of the rapid growth of prescription drug abuse and addiction in Michigan. It will be held October 29-30, 2013, at the Lansing Community College – West Campus from 8:30 am to 4:45 pm.
The Summit will bring together members of law enforcement, health insurance providers, fraud investigators, social service agencies, treatment providers and educational institutions for presentations on topics such as the diversion of controlled substances for abuse or resale, addiction, the evolution of the drug epidemic and its societal impact.
Welcoming remarks will be made by United States Attorneys Barbara McQuade and Patrick A. Miles, Jr. beginning at 8:30 am, with a keynote address from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette immediately following.
There will also be a special presentation by R. Gil Kerlikowski, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy from noon to 1pm. U.S. Attorney McQuade stated:
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious public health issue and criminal justice
issue. More people die from prescription drug overdoses in America each year than die from gunshot wounds. In addition, prescription drugs have become a form of currency for health care providers to commit health care fraud. Providers give pills to addicts in exchange for signatures so that they can bill insurers for medical procedures that are
U.S. Attorney Miles emphasized that:
“Prescription painkillers are involved in overdose deaths more than heroin and cocaine combined. A comprehensive approach to this problem is necessary. It must include training and law enforcement for responsible prescribing practices as well as increased prescription drug monitoring programs, access to substance abuse services, community partnerships, and expanded public education. This program is intended as part of a comprehensive approach to educate law enforcement officers, case workers, and others on how to identify and address prescription drug abuse in our communities.”
“Prescription drug abuse is a public health epidemic that continues to grow beneath the radar,” said Attorney General Bill Schuette. “Our children are using prescription drugs without medical purpose at an alarming rate. Drug overdose deaths have tripled since 1990. And while these trends are startling, the good news is that we have an opportunity to reverse them—and that change starts with education and collaboration among law enforcement, the courts, policymakers and the medical community. That’s what this Summit is all about.”
The Summit is open to the media. Requests for interviews with either U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr., or Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette should be made through their respective offices at the telephone numbers provided above.