By Staff Writer
The nations of North America, which includes the U.S., have some of the highest rates of drug addiction in the world. Despite millions of dollars in spending and extensive preventative efforts, the problem continues to grow, particularly when it comes to prescription drug abuse.
The Toronto Sun recently published an editorial calling for stiffer regulations of opiate painkillers, such as Oxycontin. The authors said that this could significantly reduce the prevalence of prescription pill addiction.
Some experts have argued that limiting doctors’ ability to prescribe opiates may not have such a great impact on addiction rates, as most addicts do not get their drugs from doctors. However, the editorial states that prescribing rates have jumped dramatically over the past decade in Canada.
The same is true in the U.S., where the advocacy group StopOxy says that the number of opiate prescriptions written by doctors increased by 500 percent since 2000. The group claims that more than 200 million prescriptions for the drugs were filled in 2009.
While passing legislation that limits doctors’ ability to give these medications to patients may not do anything about the demand for opiates, it could possibly impact the supply.