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Experts are meeting this week to discuss how to stop the epidemic of prescription drug abuse, according to the Orlando Sentinel. They include leaders from government, the pharmaceutical industry, and public health and safety groups.

At the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in Orlando, Florida, R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the number of people who abused prescription drugs dropped from 7 million people in 2010, to 6.1 million in 2011. Prescription drug use by young adults ages 18 to 25 is also on the decline, the article notes.

Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said a key step in reducing prescription drug abuse is the development of abuse-deterrent formulas.

Speakers also talked about the need to strengthen state prescription drug monitoring programs. These systems should be actively analyzed, and used in real time, to prevent patients from doctor shopping, they noted.

Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the nation needs a holistic approach to prescription drug abuse, which includes a combination of education, social changes, law enforcement, the healthcare industry and government working together.


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