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Drug czar: Addiction is a public health issue

At the second annual Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Summit, the nation's drug czar expressed to participants that substance abuse is a chronic brain disease and should be treated as such. National Drug Control Policy Director R. Gil Kerlikowske told the 700 attendees at the conference that drug abuse and misuse is an "extremely complex problem" and that addiction should not be treated as "a moral failure," according to the Associated Press. 

Kerlikowske said that prescription drugs affect all levels of society because of their accessibility. 

"The prescription drug problem is the great equalizer," Kerlikowske said according to "It can be teens or people 65 years old."

In addition to treating addicts, the drug czar said that medical professionals who are over prescribing opioids need to be found and prosecuted. He noted that this is sometimes a difficult process and that regular citizens can help law enforcement by informing law enforcement officials about suspected "pill mills" and steering addicts away from them. 

Kerlikowske also lauded states like Arkansas for their prescription pill monitoring and return programs which have significantly reduced addiction rates in the past few years. He did mention, however, that in some areas, prescription drug restrictions have led to a rise in heroin abuse. It is extremely worrisome, he said, because many young people do not understand the dangers of this particularly harmful substance.

Battling addiction must first begin in the home. If you know someone abusing prescription drugs, contact Intervention Services today. We can connect you with an experienced interventionist who can help bring your friend or relative into recovery.

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