Petition Closed
Petitioning F.D.A. Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg and 2 others

Require doctors to have mandatory training to prescribe painkillers.

The problem of prescription drug abuse has become so severe that drug overdose deaths attributed to opioid pain medicines such as Vicodin or Oxycontin exceed overdose deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. In 2008, 36,450 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, and 20,044 of those were due to prescription drug overdose. Opioid pain relievers were involved in 14,800 of those 20,044 deaths. (Center for Disease Control, 2011)

Yet, in the face of this national health epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration, overriding the advice of an expert panel, said that it would not require doctors to have special training before they could prescribe long-acting narcotic painkillers that can lead to addiction.

The risk of painkiller abuse is particularly great for teens. The number of teens who abuse prescription drugs has nearly tripled since 1992

Consider the following:

* Popular culture does not give a realistic picture of the risks involved with youth substance abuse
(University of Michigan Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, 2012)

* Overall substance abuse remains in steady decline among teens, but research consistently shows that kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home, are up to 50 percent less likely to use than those who do not. Yet, only 37 percent of teens report that they are getting this message from their parents
(Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, 2007)

* Parents often downplay the risks of narcotic pain medicine because they are prescribed by a doctor.
(University of Michigan Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, 2012)

* One in ten teens (10 percent or 2.5 million) reports having abused a prescription pain reliever in the past year. (Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, 2008)

* 12.3 percent of the high school students said they had used opioids for non-medical reasons. (Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2009)

The F.D.A. said companies that make the painkillers, like OxyContin, fentanyl and methadone, would be required to underwrite the cost of voluntary programs aimed at teaching doctors how to best use them. Why is Big Pharma in charge of programs that concern the distribution of their products?

Pharmaceutical companies bent on making huge profits cannot be trusted to present an objective view of prescription drug abuse. Voluntary training funded by pharmaceutical companies is totally unacceptable considering the severity of prescription drug abuse. This is a national health issue that requires intervention by the F.D.A. based on unbiased research and expert opinion. All doctors must be mandated to take the necessary training required to prescribe these painkillers.

Frank R. Thompson, Administrator Fix the Scioto County Problem of Drug Abuse Facebook Group

Letter to
F.D.A. Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg
Chief of Staff Lisa Barclay
Executive Assistant Merly Ramos
Require doctors to have mandatory training to prescribe painkillers.