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Drug czar: Overdose deaths preventable

Aug. 22, 2012 at 11:41 AM

WILKESBORO, N.C., Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The Obama administration's top drug adviser visits North Carolina Wednesday, calling for increased action to prevent drug overdose deaths.

Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy, will say drug overdose deaths are preventable during a speech delivered at Wilkesboro, N.C., a White House advisory said.

He is expected to highlight national actions to address the threat and present the administration's goal of reducing unintentional drug overdose deaths in America by 15 percent over the next five years.

Kerlikowske will speak during a meeting with officials from Project Lazarus, a non-profit overdose prevention program operating in North Carolina. The meeting comes in advance of International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31.

To help address the problem of overdose and opioid abuse, the Obama administration released "Epidemic: Responding to America's Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis," a framework for reducing prescription drug diversion and abuse, the White House said. The plan supports expanding state-based prescription drug monitoring programs, more convenient and environmentally responsible disposal methods of removing unused medications from the home, patient and healthcare provider education, and better enforcement efforts to reduce the prevalence of pill mills and doctor shopping.

The 2010 National Drug Control Strategy, the nation's primary blueprint for drug policy in the United States, also outlines support for the use of naloxone to reverse overdoses.

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