Proos: Two-day prescription drug abuse summit in Lansing to address growing health epidemic

LANSING—State, local and national leaders are meeting in Lansing for two days to discuss a strategy to address the growing abuse of prescription drugs, said Sen. John Proos.

“The skyrocketing increase in prescription drug abuse — especially among our children — in Michigan is both alarming and deadly,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “In fact, more people die from prescription drug overdoses than from gunshots, and painkiller overdose deaths outnumber those from heroin and cocaine. This is a critical issue facing Michigan and our families, which is why I am pleased that Attorney General Schuette has helped organize a summit to put together a plan of action to end this epidemic.”

Prescription drug abuse is one of the nation’s fastest growing drug problems, creating a public health crisis that the Centers for Disease Control has classified as an epidemic.

The Prescription Drug Abuse Summit will address the myriad of issues arising out of the rapid growth of prescription drug abuse and addiction in Michigan. It is being held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Lansing Community College – West Campus from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

“We should also remember that nonprescription drugs are being abused and misused in Southwest Michigan with terrible consequences,” Proos said. “Many cold medications include ingredients used to make meth. In 2011, my legislation was adopted to create an e-tracking system to effectively combat meth production without unfairly impacting in individual’s or family’s access to necessary cold medications. It has stopped many illegal purchases, but more work is necessary to prevent meth offenders from having easy access to supplies.”

Senate Bill 535, sponsored by Proos, would have the state police maintain a list of those who have been convicted of a meth-related offense in Michigan. Offenders would be on the list for ten years, during which they would need a doctor’s prescription to buy medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

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Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”