More States Focusing On Prescription Drug Problem

Avi Israel

Avi Israel has been a frequent and vocal advocate since 2011 for tackling the growing problem of prescription drug abuse, including testimony in 2012 before the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. His advocacy helped lead to New York lawmakers unanimously passing the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing law, or “I-STOP,” which went into effect in August. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012 called prescription drug abuse the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States. Between 1999 and 2009, the number of deaths nationwide from opioid painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone nearly quadrupled, and such overdoses cause more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Avi Israel signs a pledge board for a campaign to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse Oct. 9 in Buffalo. His son committed suicide in 2011 while addicted to pain pills. (Photo: Don Heupel for USA TODAY) A growing number of states are trying to crack down on the problem: Alabama Republican Gov. Robert Bentley in August signed into law a trio of bills giving more medical personnel, as well as the Alabama Medicaid Agency, access to the state’s prescription monitoring program database; tightening the regulations on pain management clinics; and making “doctor shopping” to get multiple prescriptions a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. Indiana earlier this year gave the state attorney general new oversight powers on pain management clinics and is moving toward mandatory annual drug screenings of people prescribed opioids to ensure they’re taking the drugs as prescribed.

The United States pre-World Cup schedule keeps filling up

Soccer keeps reminding us how few opportunities there will be to gather the first team ahead of next summers World Cup. No opportunity can be wasted. Thats why the United States Soccer federation has announced its latest friendly, set for Nov. 19 in Vienna against Austria . These teams havent met since 1998. That match will follow a Nov. 15 contest against Scotland at Glasgows famed Hampden Park. Thats the last well see of the national team until the annual January camp which will look quite different this time around. U.S. Soccer isnt officially talking about the January camp yet, but officials will quietly allow that part of the camp will take place in Brazil. It will still be a camp for MLS types and for any Scandinavian league men on break. So that means 14-16 first-choice types wont be able to take advantage of a trip that is mostly about getting familiar with the terrain. Still, it should be a useful exercise for those involved, and for Klinsmann (pictured) and the U.S. coaching staff, of course.

Actually, the United States Has Defaulted Before

One that helps bolster the argument that default should not be an option in Washington s latest debt limit showdown. Theres just one teensy problem: it isnt exactly true. The United States defaulted on some Treasury bills in 1979 (ht: Jason Zweig ). And it paid a steep price for stiffing bondholders. Terry Zivney and Richard Marcus describe the default in The Financial Review (sorry, I cant find an ungated version): Investors in T-bills maturing April 26, 1979 were told that the U.S. Treasury could not make its payments on maturing securities to individual investors. The Treasury was also late in redeeming T-bills which become due on May 3 and May 10, 1979. The Treasury blamed this delay on an unprecedented volume of participation by small investors, on failure of Congress to act in a timely fashion on the debt ceiling legislation in April, and on an unanticipated failure of word processing equipment used to prepare check schedules. The United States thus defaulted because Treasurys back office was on the fritz in the wake of a debt limit showdown. This default was temporary. Treasury did pay these T-bills after a short delay. But it balked at paying additional interest to cover the period of delay. According to Zivney and Marcus, it required both legal arm twisting and new legislation before Treasury made all investors whole for that additional interest.