Alabama Takes Aim at Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem across the United States, with some studies saying that up to 20% of people in the country have abused prescription drugs.
Governor Robert Bentley hopes these new laws will help change that here in Alabama.
These new laws are designed to help catch people who are trying to abuse the hospital system for drugs. One of the laws makes it a crime to doctor shop for prescriptions. Governor Bentley says he experienced this first hand while practicing as a physician.
"You'll know when they use a specific drug that they're doctor shopping. You have to understand what happens. This happens to all physicians, especially new doctors who move into town and people say, I'll take advantage of that new doctor," said Governor Bentley.
While the numbers of people abusing these drugs has gone up across the country, Alabama has one of the highest rates in the nation.
"If you look in the last year alone, over 200 thousand individuals in Alabama alone are believed to have had an illegal or I should say substance abuse problem involving legal prescription drugs. That's something that has a devastating impact on our state. It's something that we as a society should be careful to try to clamp down on," said Senator Cam Ward.
Part of that impact is also crime. This pharmacy in Greenville had more than $15,000 in prescriptions stolen during a June break in. But that's not the only way people get drugs. Many people don't finish their prescriptions, leading to even more abuse. Cities like Montgomery regularly hold drug take back programs to give you a chance to dispose of your prescriptions safely.
Lawmakers said today that they expect to see more on this in the next session.