Prescription drugs

A coalition of agencies trying to curb drug abuse focuses tonight on prescription drugs…and the connection they can have to heroin use.  The Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition screens the documentary The Hungry Heart about a rural Vermont doctor treating a number of people addicted to prescription pain and other medications.  

  Rachel Tarr runs prevention programs at Contact Community Services.  She hopes the story can lead to some action locally.

The death of Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in New York points to a possible link between heroin use and prescription drug abuse.  Hoffman’s cause of death has not been confirmed but authorities say both heroin and prescription painkillers were found with his body. 

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Senator Charles Schumer was in Central New York to announce that he’s going to put pressure on federal drug officials to fight prescription drug abuse by making it easier to get medications out of reach.  He says federal regulations are hurting efforts to curb skyrocketing incidents of prescription drug abuse.

While other states battle rising mortality rates by prescription drug overdose New York State has one of the lowest rates in the nation. A report on prescription drug abuse from Trust for America’s Health says that New York has the sixth lowest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States. Since 1999, these rates have doubled in 29 states, tripled in ten and quadrupled in four. Prescription drug related deaths now outnumber those from cocaine and heroin combined.