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Medical News & Perspectives
May 2, 2001

Mixed Message on Prescription Drug Abuse

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JAMA. 2001;285(17):2183-2184. doi:10.1001/jama.285.17.2183-JMN0502-3-1

Washington—The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) broadened its focus in April by launching a campaign against abuse of legally prescribed drugs. According to NIDA, 4 million people aged 12 years and older misused pain relievers, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants in 1999.

At a press conference announcing the effort to raise awareness about the dangers of these drugs, representatives from pharmacies and drug manufacturers joined NIDA director Alan I. Leshner, PhD, at the podium. All offered obligatory support for the endeavor, which at the moment amounts to a collection of pamphlets, Web sites, and other educational materials. Lacking any fixed agenda—other than drawing the attention of the Washington media—the parade of spokespersons balked at questions about the true scope of the problem and how to remedy it.