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Congress continues fight against drug abuse

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The Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse has been relaunched with the purpose of raising awareness to prescription drug abuse and working to develop effective treatment, prevention, law enforcement and research policy solutions.

Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and Harold "Hal" Rogers, R-Ky., lead the effort. According to information from Rahall's office, nearly three dozen members of the 112th Congress worked on the bipartisan caucus to fight back against drug abuse. The members worked on initiatives to support prescription data sharing across state lines, participated in a congressional panel at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit, spoke with the Obama administration on the prescription drug abuse problem through hearings and briefings and introduced legislation to keep crushable generic pain pills from flooding the streets and a bill to require continuing education for those who prescribe narcotics.

Rahall said the caucus is committed in its call for national action and find solutions to curb the problem.

"We are traveling a difficult and challenging path to save an entire generation of Americans, but working with my friend Congressman Rogers and the commitment of our colleagues in Congress for action on a national level, our goal is to explore, develop and expand solutions to conquer the problem of prescription drug abuse," Rahall said. "This may be the biggest challenge of our society, and the only way this destructive trend can be reversed is if everyone — I mean, everyone — gets involved. Our nation's future — our children's and grandchildren's future — hangs in the balance."

The prescription drug abuse problem isn't limited to West Virginia. Rogers said the issue "casts a dark shadow over our close-knit communities, particularly targeting our young people."

"Today, this drug problem not only affects my congressional district, but has magnified its scope in intensity, cross-cutting geographical and socio-economic boundaries, hitting communities across the country," Rogers said. "As lawmakers began to recognize the scope and devastation of this scourge, the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse was launched in 2009 to help united legislators and interested parties in preventing the misuse of powerful narcotics. With the help of Congressman Rahall, I am confident that solutions are within reach and that we can continue to make a difference in Washington in this battle against prescription drug abuse."

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, the number of emergency room visits from prescription drug abuse has nearly doubled over the last five years. The number of hospital admissions for prescription drug abuse has increased nearly 400 percent over the past decade.