ICYMI: Carter Discusses Opioid Addiction and Prescription Drug Abuse on C-SPAN
Congressman Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (Ga-01) discussed opioid addiction and prescription drug abuse on C-SPAN's Washington Journal as a member of the House-Senate Conference Committee to resolve differences over the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
During the segment, Carter answered questions from live callers and shared the gravity of this epidemic from the perspective of the only pharmacist in Congress:
"The leading cause of accidental death now in America is opioid abuse, it’s drug abuse, and it’s surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death and it’s something that has evolved into an epidemic.
"What is happening is they are going from opioid addiction to heroin addiction. Heroin is actually more valuable and cheaper in many areas than the opioids. Representative Hal Rogers from Kentucky sponsors a prescription drug abuse conference in Atlanta every year, he’s done it for the last five or six years, and now he’s added on prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse. That’s how bad it’s become."
He went on to discuss the addictive nature of opioids and the need for alternative medications:
"Opioids are such an addictive class. You can become addicted to opioids in almost no time. We’ve had instances of people who have just gone to have a dental procedure and been prescribed an opioid and all of sudden they're addicted to it after a short period of time.
"There is a void between ibuprofen acetaminophen, the pain relievers you can get without a prescription, and the opioids. Once you get past tramadol there’s not a whole lot there for us to use.
"I have seen miracles, literally miracles, in drugs. I’ve seen us go from antibiotics that were at one time when I first started practicing in the early 80’s you had to take 40 tablets over a 10-day period. Now you can take 5 tablets in 4 days or 6 tablets in 5 days and you’re done. We can treat illnesses and diseases with medications now thanks to the research and development that has been done by the pharmaceutical companies that before we couldn’t do. Look at Hepatitis C, we’ve cured it with medication. That’s phenomenal and for that reasoning I feel like the pharmaceutical companies have a responsibility to help us with this problem. We need something besides the opioids, we need them to fill in that void and I’m confident they can do it because I’ve seen them perform miracles throughout my career."
Click here to view the full interview.