The United States is in the grip of an epidemic of prescription drug overdoses. Over 27,000 people died from overdoses in 2007, a number that has risen five-fold since 1990 and has never been higher. Prescription drugs are now involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
For health professionals, policymakers and legislators, addressing this problem is complicated—while they push for education, prevention, and enforcement to reverse this epidemic, they must also ensure that patients with a legitimate need for these medications still have access to them. This important session of Public Health Grand Rounds will address these challenges and explore the innovative state and federal policies and interventions that are showing promise in reducing injury and death from this epidemic.