AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The nation’s drug czar visited Aurora Thursday to discuss the fight against prescription drug abuse.
Gil Kerlikowske calls it an epidemic. He was invited the by local group Peer Assistance Services to talk about the growing problem and solutions.
He said prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest growing drug problem.
According to the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program, more than twice as many people died in Colorado from prescription drug abuse than drunk driving in 2009.
“This isn’t a drug coming across the border. This is something coming out of a medicine cabinet,” said Kerlikowske, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
He discussed the problem with a group of Colorado health care professionals, law enforcement and educators. He said the area that needs more work is education.
“Education for health care providers because we know in med school and others they don’t get much knowledge in addiction, medication and pain management,” said Kerlikowske.
How the addiction to prescription drugs can affect your life is something recovering addict and pharmacist Theresa Buschmann can talk about.
“So I started taking Fiorinal a little bit more and a little bit more,” said Buschmann.
Buschmann has been a pharmacist for more than 30 years.
“It was to the point that I was writing my own prescriptions,” said Buschmann. “The particular pharmacy that I was working at the time, I walked in on a Saturday and I was met by my district manager, confronted by the DEA and I lost everything.”
Buschmann is sober and has been for three years. But she says she lives with the consequences.
“I totally believed in the oath that I took as a pharmacist and I blew it,” said Buschmann.