Pill addiction must be taken seriously

Published 10:07 am Thursday, July 11, 2013

Painkillers have become a prescription for addiction for millions of Americans. In this evolving epidemic, death rates from overdoses are rising much faster for women than they are for men, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Today, more women die from overdoses of prescription painkillers than from cervical cancer or homicide. The opioid epidemic has hit white women — many from rural areas such as Appalachian Ohio — harder than black women, and older women more than younger ones.

To alleviate this problem, public health programs must take addiction to drugs that have legitimate medical uses as seriously as the abuse of street drugs such as heroin, which affects the same pain receptors in the brain as painkillers do.

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(I)n Ohio and the rest of the country, the costs of addiction are high, including severe depression, painful withdrawal symptoms, and fatal overdoses. Every year, more than 1 million Americans land in emergency rooms because of prescription drug abuse; the problem has grown steadily since 2004….

Despite the alarming statistics, many Americans, especially teenagers, still believe prescription drugs are relatively harmless. Any effective anti-abuse program must start with public education and adequate treatment. Doctors must get better educated about the addictive potential of the drugs they prescribe…

Prescription painkillers have eased an enormous amount of pain for millions of Americans. But raising awareness about their dangers must become a far higher priority for local, state, and federal governments. If not, millions more, including a growing number of women, will feel the pain of addiction.

The (Toledo) Blade


Obama’s fight against coal borders on imperialism

Since when does the U.S. State Department have any authority over environmental quality? Since President Barack Obama decided he, and he alone, has the right to make critical decisions for all Americans, that’s when.

In a major speech recently, Obama vowed to establish new regulations on coal-fired power plants, in the name of fighting climate change. He admitted he decided to do so because Congress would not go along with his war on coal.

On a related issue, his administration’s blocking of permits for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian oil to the U.S., Obama made it clear he has not been candid in the past.

Permits for the pipeline have been blocked by the State Department, with the White House insisting the agency — which is supposed to handle only diplomacy — is acting on its own initiative. Yet in his speech, Obama said he has instructed the State Department not to allow the pipeline if doing so would increase emissions of greenhouse gases.

Approval probably would mean fewer emissions than the alternative, shipping the Canadian oil to China. But that is not supposed to be a State Department concern.

In revealing his order, Obama has made it more clear than ever that in some ways, he intends his edicts to be the law.

That smacks of an imperial presidency — of the type against which our system of government is supposed to protect Americans.

Warren Tribune Chronicle