NYC, state, federal government agencies fight painkiller abuse

Sept. 28, 2013 at 6:31 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- New York City officials say they were awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for their program to fight prescription painkiller misuse.

RxStat, created by the Mayor's Task Force on Prescription Painkiller Abuse, combines data from city, state and federal agencies, ensuring city agencies responding to the opioid crisis can keep up with the changing patterns of drug use.

"In the critical fight against prescription drug abuse New York City has, again, been recognized as a leader for our innovative solutions to complex problems," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.

"Working together, public health and safety agencies are targeting resources to better understand the nature and extent of the problem while also recognizing the role these painkillers play when responsibly prescribed and used."

In addition, the mayor announced 35 hospitals adopted the city's voluntary guidelines for the prescription of opioid painkillers from emergency departments.

Opioid analgesics include: oxycodone -- e.g., OxyContin, Roxicodone -- hydrocodone -- e.g., Vicodin -- morphine, fentanyl patches and methadone.

Unintentional opioid analgesic overdose deaths increased 267 percent from 2000-11, decreasing by 12 percent from 2011-12.

In 2012, prescription painkillers were involved in 190 unintentional overdose deaths in New York City.

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