Attorney General Doug Peterson hopes to head off an opioid epidemic before it can get started.
Peterson says he talked with attorneys general in New Hampshire, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin about the growing problem of opioid abuse, mostly from misuse of high-powered pain relievers.
“They believe that over 70% of the people who are addicted to these pain relievers are getting their additional pills, beyond their prescription, from family, friends, and others who have those just laying around the house,” Peterson tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Addicts might not need heroin if they can get their hands on prescriptions or even buy them on the street.
Peterson’s discussion with fellow attorneys general led to the convening of an opioid summit held in Omaha which attracted more than 300 members of the public health, medical, and law enforcement communities in Nebraska. Peterson, along with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center hosted the summit held on the UNMC campus.
Speakers addressed various topics, including Nebraska’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; a primary care team-based approach to opioid prescribing and pharmacology of opioid addiction; the DEA’s efforts to break the cycle of drug trafficking, drug violence, and drug abuse as well as proposed statewide solutions for prescription opioid abuse.
“And we’re going to develop a three-part process,” according to Peterson. “One is what can we do as far as prevention? A lot of that is public education. What should we be doing, the appropriate and most effective approach to law enforcement? And what’s the best treatment methods that can be used in the medical communities?”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]