Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Ca., is resuming a series of Congressional hearings on prescription drug abuse that began last year. While Mack says painkillers like oxycodone have become too available, some patient advocates and addiction experts contend that a congressional committee is not the appropriate forum for addressing the conditions under which such powerful drugs should be prescribed.
Among Mack’s proposals are the Stop Oxy Abuse Act, which would restrict the use of any pain-relief drug containing oxycodone to “the relief of severe-only instead of moderate-to-severe pain,” and the Ryan Creedon Act of 2011 would require anyone who prescribes controlled substances to be educated on the risks such drugs pose to patients before they can register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. DEA registration is already required by federal law. Unlike President Barack Obama’s recent plan to curb prescription drug abuse – which allows pharmaceutical companies themselves to “educate” doctors on the risks of their products – the bill specifies that this training should be provided by a medical society, a state medical licensing board, an accredited continuing education provider, or “another organization that the Secretary [of Health and Human Services] determines is appropriate for providing such training or certification.”
The Creedon bill was named in honor of Ryan Creedon of Palm Desert, Calif., who suffered from a chronic addiction to OxyContin that ultimately resulted in his Feb. 2009 death. Read more about Ryan’s story here.