Verde Valley AZ (January 31, 2012) – MATFORCE is attacking the prescription drug abuse epidemic by launching its “Sign Up to Save Lives” Campaign. The campaign is directed at physicians and pharmacists in Yavapai County, asking them to register for and use the Arizona Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PMP). The program includes a computerized central database tracking system to track the prescribing, dispensing and consumption of Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances in Arizona. Using the tracking system limits one of the practices that abusers use of ‘pill shopping’ from doctor to doctor.
During the first week in February, PMP registration forms will be mailed directly to physicians and pharmacists. MATFORCE volunteers will be contacting offices the week of Feb 20-26 to assist in completing the registration forms, including making notaries available for signatures.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Drug overdoses now rival auto accidents as the leading cause of accidental deaths. Prescription drug overdose is responsible for more deaths than those of heroin and cocaine combined.
The CDC reports that prescription drug monitoring programs, such as the one in Arizona, serve as a high impact strategy in reducing abuse.
MATFORCE Executive Director Merilee Fowler says, “We are asking the question, ‘Who’s Counting?’ because prescription drug abuse statistics are startling. The 2010 Arizona Youth Survey reports that one out of every four 10th and 12th grade student has abused prescription pain medication to get high. The risk is even seen in 8th grade, with 1 out of every 10 student reporting abuse. It is sad to report that the numbers for our children are above state and national averages.”
Yavapai County data shows that almost 20 million narcotic pain killers and sedatives were dispensed by pharmacies in a one year period. That amounts to 92 pills per person. Sadly, 8 young adults died in our county during 2010-11 due to prescription drug overdose.
Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney and MATFORCE Co-Chair, says, “That is why it is so important for doctors and pharmacists to use the state monitoring program. By regularly using the system, they can literally save lives. I hope that we can count on practitioners to join our efforts to combat prescription drug abuse.”
For more information visit matforce.org or call 928-708-0100.