The three Democratic Presidential candidates generally mirror the CDC’s message about over-prescribing of pain medication being the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic.
Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, pointed to the pharmaceutical industry, and doctors who he believes prescribe too many pain medications. Sanders says the problem is the sheer volume of pain medicines, which drives heroin addiction.
“I think we have got to tell the medical profession and doctors who are prescribing opiates and the pharmaceutical industry that they have got to start getting their act together. We cannot have this huge number of opiates out there throughout this country where young people are taking them, getting hooked, and then going to heroin.”
Like Sen. Sanders, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, focused on doctors who she says prescribe too much pain medication and that is what creates heroin addiction.
“We have to do more on the prescribing end of it. There are too many opioids being prescribed, and that leads directly now to heroin addiction.”
Clinton has proposed a $10 billion plan to combat opioid addiction and alcohol abuse.
Former Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley, shared the same views, noting opioid addiction is a “huge public health challenge” that has “taken far too many of our citizens.”
“We need to rein in the overprescribing,” O’Malley said. “That’s what I said to my own public health people — ‘What would we do if this were Ebola? How would we act?'”
O’Malley has proposed a $12 billion plan to address addiction and over-prescribing of pain medications.
The candidates’ positions on opioids mirror that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which recently announced it has opened a second period for public comment on its controversial Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.
Patient advocacy groups mounted great pressure on the CDC because many believed the guidelines were developed behind closed doors and without input from people who suffer in pain and need opioid medications.
The public comment period opened December 14, 2015, and closes January 13, 2016.
To comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CDC-2015-0112-0001, and follow the instructions for submitting comments (NOTE: “Comment Now” button in upper right corner of screen).