The Moonshine of the New Millennium: Pharmaceutical/Prescription Drugs and Their Abuse

Brian K. Simpkins, Eastern Kentucky University
Derek J. Paulsen, Eastern Kentucky University

Beginning around 2000 a new concern raised its ugly head in the United States. This concern spread nation-wide, and was most prominently felt in the rural areas of eastern Kentucky and southeastern (the coalfields of) West Virginia. Pharmaceutical/prescription drug abuse was that concern and it still is prominent today. Even though pharmaceutical/prescription drug abuse has been extensively reported on by the mass media, research into this crisis has not followed. In addition, mass media has misrepresented the problem by focusing on one particular drug, Oxycontin, which by far is not the most abused prescription drug. This presentation will help to fill this void in research into one of the new epidemics in America. This will be accomplished by the use of results from a survey of pharmacists and other data gathering methods. Thse methods will then be utilized to discuss the nature and extent of the problem as well as issues related to enforcement. In addition to research findings, policy implications will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006