LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The battle to end prescription drug abuse in Southwest Florida is ongoing. We're learning addicts are taking desperate measures to get what they want: even faking illness and going to emergency rooms and making long lines even longer.
That topic of prescription drug abuse in the emergency room that was discussed at the Lee County Coalition for a Drug Free Southwest Florida meeting.
Dr. Dean Goldberg with the Lee Memorial Health System says addicts will go to any extreme to get pain pills, even taking advantage of a busy emergency room. To make sure doctors are giving the right medications to those who need them, he says, it boils down to a list of procedures.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the number of emergency room visits for nonmedical use of prescription painkillers more than doubled between 2004 and 2008.
Deborah Comella, Executive Director of the Lee County Coalition for A Drug Free Southwest Florida, says steps are being taken to make sure those who need the proper care get it.
"The physicians in our emergency rooms have been aware of this for quite some time, in Lee County, Lee Memorial Health System, they've been extremely proactive in setting up policies so that people who are drug shopping don't get the drugs that they want," she explained.
She says efforts to crack down on painkiller abuse are making a dent thanks to efforts like Lee County's Operation Medicine Cabinet.
And Dr. Goldberg agrees, raising awareness for everyone in the community is a good step in the right direction in the fight against abuse.