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Prescription Drugs

Study reveals patterns of prescription drug abuse

People who have recently used illicit drugs have a higher likelihood of misusing prescription painkillers as well, a University of Georgia study has found.

The nationwide study, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, also revealed a significant age difference in how people obtain these pain medications.

Prescription painkiller Vicodin

Prescription painkiller Vicodin

Older adults were more likely to report acquiring these drugs by going to multiple physicians, while younger people were more likely to get the painkillers from friends, relatives or drug dealers.

Abuse of opioid painkillers is a major national problem.

From 1999 to 2013, the amount of opioid painkillers prescribed and sold in this country nearly quadrupled. In 2013 alone, more than 16,000 people died in the United States from opioid painkillers, which include hydrocodone, oxycodone and codeine. full story

Bill on ‘biosimilar’ drugs easily clears panel

$1,300 a month.

That’s how much Kerry Tucker spends for the “biologic” medication to treat her arthritis.

Kerry Tucker

Kerry Tucker

“And I have health insurance,’’ she told lawmakers Thursday.

Biologic drugs are specially engineered drugs that have made a major difference in people’s ability to handle their symptoms from arthritis and other diseases. But they also carry a high price tag.

Tucker, an Atlanta resident, came to the state Capitol to testify for a bill that would make it easier for patients like her to get a cheaper medication that’s similar to a biologic drug they are currently taking.

The goal of Senate Bill 51 is to create a state structure for the prescribing of “biosimilar’’ drugs – and could potentially save Georgians money.  full story

Contest targets teen prescription drug abuse

The video begins with a teenage boy opening a cabinet to grab a bottle of prescription drugs.

“A few little pills can’t hurt, right?’’ says the narrator.

The teenager then is shown on the floor, apparently unconscious.

The video, produced by George Walton Comprehensive High School students in Marietta, won a Georgia high school video contest aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse among teenagers.

YouTube Preview ImagePrescription drug abuse is a problem that affects almost all age groups.

Among teens, a national CDC-sponsored survey in 2013 found that nearly one in five high school students has taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription. The survey asked if they’d ever taken a drug such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin or Xanax, without a prescription.  full story

Personal health: Sticker shock at pharmacy

My recent sinus infection came on suddenly and painfully. After diagnosing it, my physician e-prescribed me an antibiotic.

cohdra_100_9279This is tricky territory for me. I’m sensitive to some antibiotics. Years ago, I took a couple of varieties to treat similar infections, and wound up with oral thrush in one case and C. difficile in another. Both were 100 times worse than the original ailment.

My physician knew this history. He prescribed a two-week supply of doxycyline hyclate, a dependable antibiotic that he felt I could tolerate well, partly because I had handled it well in the past.

So I headed to my pharmacy to pick up the “doxy.”

“It’s one seventeen,’’ said the clerk, in an oddly sheepish way.

I pulled a dollar from my wallet and extracted some change from my pants pocket.

She looked at the money and said, “No. It’s a hundred and seventeen dollars.’’

“Whoa,’’ I said. “$117?” full story

Drug thefts rise after pill mill crackdown

A tall man wearing a green baseball cap recently entered a CVS pharmacy in Oakwood, intent on robbery.

The man was not looking for cash. Instead, according to police, he demanded that the pharmacist give him Lortab and Percocet painkillers.

He then grabbed drug bottles and prescription bags belonging to customers before fleeing the store, police said.

The same man is being sought in a similar robbery at a Flowery Branch pharmacy.

iStock_000017543934SmallPharmacy officials say such robberies are occurring with greater frequency in Georgia. Ironically, the officials link the increase to the state’s recent success in cracking down on the scourge of “pill mills’’ in the state.

Pill mills are clinics or doctor’s offices that prescribe oxycodone and other powerful narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose. Their customers are often addicts or even drug dealers.

Georgia became a pill mill magnet after neighboring states, including Florida, passed tougher laws regulating pain clinics.

But last year, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation to get rid of pill mills, requiring pain clinics to be licensed by the state medical board and owned by physicians. The state also launched a prescription drug monitoring program, aiming to cut down on the abuse of opioid painkillers. full story

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