Cracking Down on Pill Mills

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 2:16pm

Government makes new push against abuse of prescription painkillers.

Abuse of prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Oxycodone has become a national epidemic.

Officials in Washington unveiled a comprehensive new program to fight it on Tuesday.

The White House drug czar and other top administration officials laid out a battle plan designed to dry up what's become an easy and deadly pipeline for anyone willing to pay.

It's a first-of-its-kind coordinated effort involving not just law enforcement, but the Departments of Defense and Health.

A generation after 'Just Say No' many Americans don't know prescription drugs like Oxycontin can be every bit as addictive and lethal as heroin and methamphetamines.

"In 17 states and here in the District of Columbia, in fact, it's the leading cause of accidental death. What does that mean? It's ahead of car crashes for taking lives," says Gil Kerlikowske, National Drug Control Policy director.

Florida ha taken a lead in closing down pill mills, pain clinics and "feelgood" doctors willing to write prescriptions for anyone who can pay, but this isn't just a government fight.

It's a struggle for mothers like Karen Perry, who lost her son Rich, and Ellen Heron, who lost her son Mark.

"It's a form of murder and it's a mass murder," Heron says.

This new fight will focus on educating the public and stricter monitoring of medical professionals to catch abuse.

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