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Jul-19-2011 03:24printcomments

Ohio Takes Point in the Fight Against Oxycontin Abuse

There's a hero - If you look inside your heart - You don't have to be afraid of what you are - There's an answer - If you reach into your soul - And the sorrow that you know will melt away (Mariah Carey song)

Ohio against Oxycontin
Salem-News.com

(PORTSMOUTH, Ohio) - “I’m only as good as the men under me in the department,” Horner said. “And we’ve got an excellent group of people. And they make the difference. I appreciate very much the honor."

And then a hero comes along with the strength to carry on -
And you cast your fears aside - And you know you can survive.
 So when you feel like hope is gone - Look inside you and be
strong - And you'll finally see the truth - That a hero lies in you.

Click map for the Columbus Dispatch report:
Painkillers run amok in Scioto County

Last week, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Gil Kerlikowske came to Portsmouth, Ohio to address a capacity crowd since the Scioto County Prescription Drug Action Team has elevated the media attention on the prescription drug problem in Scioto County to the level that it has gained the attention of the White House.

If Portsmouth, Ohio can gain the attention of the White House, every town and county in the country can do the same.  This prescription drug problem is not an isolated event -- it is nationwide and growing and in epidemic proportion.  If a handful of heroes in Portsmouth, Ohio can get the attention of the President of the United States in such proportion that he sends his drug czar to meet with a group of people taking their county back from the siege of drug addiction, every other county in the country can accomplish what Scioto County has achieved.

It's a long road when you face the world alone -
No one reaches out a hand for you to hold.

When Kerlikowske met the citizens of Portsmouth last week, a woman spoke at the town meeting. She had one son who had become addicted to OxyContin and was murdered at age 19 and now has a 24 year old son who is addicted. In tears, she told the drug czar that she lives in fear that she will lose her last child because his addiction never lets go.

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske AP photo courtesy: Politico

Lisa Roberts spoke bluntly and powerfully to the crowd saying "How many of you have a family member who has become addicted to OxyContin, or its counterparts?" Hands shot up..

"How many of you find yourselves living in fear since drugs like OxyContin have saturated the area?"

More hands went up.

"We know that for us here in Appalachia, OxyContin was the jet fuel that ignited the spark that started the flames that have now engulfed this entire Region. It now spreads like wildfire across the entire Nation. What we are experiencing in this Region is comparable to a prolonged terrorist attack, and my question is - Has anyone considered the possibility that there may be something very sinister and dangerous going on here? Quite frankly, no off-shore terrorist has ever enjoyed this much success and been able to sustain such a prolonged and destructive attack on human life and society. I just hope that people in Washington consider that this has the potential to be a threat to our national security. It is already killing thousands, sickening millions, and weakening us socially and financially as a nation. I just hope we are not sleeping at the wheel while our country is succumbing before our eyes."

Lord knows Dreams are hard to follow - But don't let anyone tear them away -
 Hold on there will be tomorrow - In time you'll find the way.

Director Kerlikowske shared that a Senate Panel had convened in Washington DC in May, and that the federal government was taking steps to "rachet-back-in" the over-prescribing and distribution of potent and addictive painkillers including shutting down illegal Pill Mills, and addressing the numbers of people who have become addicted.

Chief Charles Horner of Portsmouth, Ohio and Lisa Roberts, RN, Public
Health Department. Photo by Marianne Skolek Salem-News.com

Kerlikowske complimented the Scioto County community on coming together to combat the problem of prescription drug abuse, and complimented Ohio officials in dealing with the problem, including the Attorney General’s office, and the passage of House Bill 93, which regulates pain clinics in the state, legislation co-sponsored by Johnson.

Ohio Attorney General Michael "Mike" DeWine told the audience “I look at this as the evil twins.”  “The evil twins are opiate prescription drugs and heroin. Now we are seeing that opiate prescription drugs are a gateway drug to heroin use.”

DeWine said he would announce in the next several weeks a comprehensive plan to attack both.

Chief Horner referred to Sunday evening’s meeting as “positive.”

A decade ago, Horner and others attempted to gain help from Ohio and the Federal government to deal with OxyContin and its deadly effects on the region.

"We were treated like a bastard child of the State of Ohio and the nation because of our rural location.  This is a community that is dying because of this drug. This is an epidemic created by the pharmaceutical industry -- for the pharmaceutical industry."

“It says volumes to the efforts set forth by the Scioto County Prescription Drug Action Team, in that we clearly have the attention of the White House and the office of the National Drug Control Policy,” Horner said. “I think it is significant that we have the DEA, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General of Ohio and the Governor’s Office, all coming to the table collectively in Portsmouth, and obviously partnering with local law enforcement and other agencies, including health and rehabilitation treatment. And I think our efforts for the last year and a half have paid off, especially the efforts of Mrs. Roberts.”

With all due respect Mr. Kerlikowske, we have a national crisis on our hands and it needs to be treated as such.  Call in Janet Napolitano, czar of Homeland Security. This is a terrorist attack on our families -- only it's not coming from foreign terrorists.  It is coming from the pharmaceutical industry.  Cleaning out medicine cabinets will not end this epidemic of OxyContin in every state in the country.  Determining why Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin manufactures up to 5 times the needed prescriptions for legitimate pain patients would be a start.  Forcing the FDA to reclassify OxyContin for severe pain only and not for moderate would save lives.  And most importantly ending the lobbying of pain societies from marketing to physicians for the "undertreatment of pain" in the country.  These pain societies funded by the maker of OxyContin are responsible for thousands of deaths and addictions in our country.

So Mr. Kerlikowske -- carry it further -- become a hero to the nation. A determined group of people in a county in Ohio became heroes and took back their community. We're counting on you to do what is right and give us back our families and our kids -- drug free - throughout the country.

Stand up to the pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue Pharma who are responsible for the prescription drug tsunami nightmare we are living. Hold them accountable - they lied about the dangers of OxyContin and admitted they lied.

We cannot continue losing our children to this drug.

And then a hero comes along with the strength to carry on -
And you cast your fears aside - And you know you can survive.
So when you feel like hope is gone - Look inside you and be strong -
And you'll finally see the truth - That a hero lies in you.

LP - No one is at the door.  You let him in to show us the path to take.  We are truly blessed in love, peace, laughter and sharing.  Escaping to the botanicals and the swanettes makes keeping the messenger happy an even sweeter task for me.

View all of Marianne Skolek's articles on Salem-News.com in sequential order.

___________________________________

Salem-News.com Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 8-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.

Marianne Skolek
National Activist for Victims of OxyContin and
Purdue Pharma - a criminally convicted pharmaceutical company
Staff Correspondent, Salem-News.com

http://www.purduepharma.com/pressroom/app/news_announc/USGovt_reponse_Main.pdf

http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/testimony.cfm?id=2905&wit_id=6612

http://i.bnet.com/blogs/sebelius-response.pdf

http://www.vawd.uscourts.gov/PurdueFrederickCo/default.asp

www.oxydeaths.com




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luanne July 20, 2011 2:31 pm (Pacific time)

good job keep exposing this for what it is, GREED.. shame on purdue pharma


LBennett July 19, 2011 7:00 am (Pacific time)

Never more truer words have been printed or spoken. We are fighting a drug coalition that has this generation by the throat- squeezing the life out of them. And these same companies are not "testing" new opiate products on CHILDREN -- I am sickened with grief, not only has my family endured the pain of opiate addiction.. I am now fearing my grandchildren being a victim as well ....


Ada July 19, 2011 5:16 am (Pacific time)

Thank you Marianne for this beautifully inspirational article.... so true. This type of co-ordinated effort should be spreading like wildfire across the U.S. and Canada.

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