Although I think it's tragic that this epidemic is what's causing legislators to stand up and do something about the shocking numbers of women who are overdosing on prescription drugs, I am also someone who is grateful that it is happening within my lifetime.
Ever since medicine first figured out how to relieve the horrific pain of surgery with something more effective than a swig of whiskey, we have been on a quest to further prevent and treat all manner of human pain.
The most dangerous drugs may be much closer to home than you think. In fact, they may already be in your home. You may be worried about your teenager's relationship with drugs, but this is probably a good time to start talking to your younger children, too.
The Obama administration has adopted a mainstream approach to the drug problem, employing a balance of public health and safety approaches to reduce drug use and its consequences. All of these policies are grounded in science and research -- not politics or ideology.
If there's contention in the medical community about the risk and effectiveness of painkillers, the debate gets more heated still when it comes to what sort of public policy should govern how the drugs are used.
Two important public health policy matters that require the attention of policy makers seem to be constantly in tension with one another: the under-treatment of chronic pain and the abuse of prescription medications.
Americans are becoming more dependent on drugs, despite years -- decades -- of our War on Drugs. Somehow, confiscating marijuana, cocaine, and illicit painkillers has not reversed our addictive proclivities.