Palm Springs Congresswoman Bono Mack puts spotlight on prescription drug abuse

OxyContin causes more overdoses than heroin and cocaine combined, according to a report by the Centers for Drug Control.
OxyContin causes more overdoses than heroin and cocaine combined, according to a report by the Centers for Drug Control. Vitualis/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sometimes a national news story spurs legislation. Sometimes the prompt is much more personal. Concerns very close to home persuaded a Palm Springs Republican to take up a cause on Capitol Hill.

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack isn’t one of those lawmakers who hangs out in the Speakers Lobby, chatting up reporters on every topic under the sun. But the representative from Palm Springs is more than happy to talk about legislation aimed at curbing what she calls the “epidemic” of teenage prescription drug abuse.

"Some would argue that we’ve done such a good job of telling our kids to stay away from illicit drugs, that they’ve thought that prescription drugs were the safe alternative," she said.

Bono Mack’s teenage son got hooked on OxyContin. For years he’s been in recovery. The congresswoman has introduced legislation to train doctors about strong painkillers and limit their use.

She also uses her bully pulpit to spotlight the kind of drug abuse that comes in little plastic bottles from the pharmacy.

"This is a very serious health problem that our children are faced with," she added.

The federal Centers for Disease Control report that more Americans die from overdoses of painkillers like OxyContin than from heroin and cocaine combined.

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