Rob Standridge – Fight Against Prescription Drug Addiction

ROB MCCLENDON: WELL PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE IS OKLAHOMA'S FASTEST GROWING DRUG PROBLEM ACCORDING TO THE STATE'S MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSIONER THIS SPRING THE LEGISLATURE APPROVED AN ADDITIONAL ONE POINT TWO MILLION DOLLARS FOR DRUG AND TREATMENT PROGRAMS THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH

EVEN SO, LAWMAKERS AGREE THE MONEY IS A SMALL AMOUNT TO FIGHT SUCH A LARGE PROBLEM EARLIER I SAT DOWN WITH OKLAHOMA SENATOR ROB STANDRIDGE WHO'S BEEN ON THE FOREFRONT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST PRESCRIPTION ADDICTION SENATOR STANDRIDGE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE WELL YOU DEFINITELY HAVE A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE AS BOTH A PHARMACIST AND A LAWMAKER IF YOU WILL, KIND OF SET THE STAGE FOR US ON WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW WITH PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE

ROB STANDRIDGE: PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE IS, AS YOU'RE PROBABLY AWARE, IS A SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM IN ALL STATES BUT IN OKLAHOMA, PARTICULARLY, IT SEEMS LIKE WE'RE AT THE TOP OF THAT PROBLEM AND I THINK THAT GIVES THE BURDEN TO US TO BE AGGRESSIVE IN ATTACKING THE PROBLEM AND SEEING WHAT WAYS WE CAN HELP BOTH LEGISLATIVELY AND IN DISCUSSIONS LIKE THIS; HOW CAN WE STARTL, YOU KNOW TACKLING THIS PROBLEM AND MAKING OKLAHOMA NOT THE LEADER IN THIS AND HOPEFULLY WHAT WE CAN DO, HERE, MAYBE OTHER STATES MIGHT FOLLOW AND FIND WAYS TO IMPROVE THEIR PROBLEM AS WELL

ROB: FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE ARE THERE CERTAIN THINGS THAT ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEMS THAT WE HAVE? STANDRIDGE: YEAH, I THINK, I THINK AS WE WERE TALKING BEFORE OFF CAMERA, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE AUSTIN BOX STORY FOR INSTANCE WHICH IS CERTAINLY A TRAGIC STORY ROB: YEAH, THE YOUNG OU FOOTBALL PLAYER THAT DIED OF A PRESCRIPTION OVERDOSE STANDRIDGE: RIGHT AND HIS FAMILY NOW IS KIND OF BEING VOCAL ABOUT THIS AND TRYING TO EDUCATE OTHERS ON WHAT CAN HAPPEN AND I THINK YOU LOOK AT THAT AND YOU THINK, WELL ONE, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ARE LOOKED AT AS BEING SAFE AND I THINK PROBABLY MR BOX HAVING PAIN AND OTHER ISSUES MAYBE THAT HE WAS USING THESE DRUGS FOR THOUGHT, WELL THESE ARE OBVIOUSLY SAFE BECAUSE THEY ARE PRESCRIPTION, EVEN THOUGH HE DIDN'T HAVE PRESCRIPTION FOR THEM, THEY ARE PRESCRIPTION SO YOU KIND OF THINK THEY'RE SAFE

THAT'S, I THINK, WRONG THINKING THEY'RE JUST AS DANGEROUS OR MORE SO THAN ILLICIT DRUGS AND THEN THE OTHER ONE IS THAT WE SO EASILY TODAY, IN TODAY'S SOCIETY, TREAT EVERYTHING WITH DRUGS, AND SO WHEN YOU HAVE, WHEN YOU'RE DOWN OR YOU HAVE SOME PAIN, I MEAN THAT'S SOMETIMES THE FIRST THING WE GO INSTEAD OF DEALING WITH IT IN OTHER WAYS ROB: NOW YOU WROTE LEGISLATION IN THIS LAST SESSION THAT HAS NOW BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR, WHAT WILL HOUSE BILL 1419 DO? STANDRIDGE: HOUSE BILL 1419, SO, SO OVER THE YEARS WE'VE COLLECTED ALL THIS DATA ABOUT THESE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES AND HOW PATIENTS USE THEM OR ABUSE THEM AND SO WE'VE NEVER REALLY INVOLVED THE PHYSICIANS IN THIS CONVERSATION OR THIS DIALOGUE ABOUT THIS USE

NOW THEY CAN LOGON TO THE INTERNET AND LOGIN TO A PATIENT, BUT IN A BUSY DAY OF A PRACTICE THEIR TIME IS OFTEN NOT AVAILABLE FOR THAT SO WHAT WE DID WITH 1419 IS ALLOW THE BUREAU OF NARCOTICS TO ACTUALLY FLAG A PATIENT IN THE PHYSICIAN'S ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS SYSTEM THAT THEY POTENTIALLY ARE A DOCTOR SHOPPER AND SO HERE'S AN ICON THAT MIGHT APPEAR IN THE RIGHT SCREEN LIKE AN EXCLAMATION POINT OR, YOU KNOW, A BLINKING LIGHT OF SOME TYPE THAT SAYS HEY, JANE DOE HERE EXHIBITS, YOU KNOW, THE THINGS THAT WE THINK THAT SHE'S DOCTOR SHOPPING MAYBE SHE'S WENT TO FIVE DIFFERENT DOCTORS IN THE LAST FIVE DAYS FOR A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE SO WE, WE WONDER IF SO, SO THE PHYSICIAN NOW, HE IS NOT COMPELLED TO DO ANYTHING, BUT HE OR SHE COULD USE THAT INFORMATION TO EITHER PRESCRIBE SOMETHING NON-CONTROLLED OR MAYBE REFUSE TO SEE THE PATIENT

SO IT, IT INVOLVES THEM IN THE DISUSSION WITHOUT ANY COMPULSION SO I THINK IT ALLOWS THAT DATA TO BE USED IN, BUT STILL NOT HINDER THEIR MEDICAL PRACTICE IN THE DECISIONS THEY WANT TO MAKE ROB: WHAT IS THE ROLE THAT PHARMACISTS PLAY IN ALL THIS? STANDRIDGE: WELL IN MY OPINION AS A PHARMACIST, I THINK WE ARE ASKED TO PLAY TOO MUCH I THINK WE ARE RESPONSIBLE TO LOOK AT THOSE PATIENTS AND MAKE JUDGEMENT CALLS ON WHAT WE SEE BUT THERE'S NO WAY A PHARMACIST CAN BE EXPECTED TO KNOW THE FULL SCOPE OF WHAT A PATIENT DOES TYPICALLY WHEN THEY DOCTOR SHOP, THEY PHARMACY SHOP; AND SO, WHEN YOU ASK A PHARMACIST TO BECOME A POLICE OFFICER, I THINK YOU'RE GOING ABOUT IT THE WRONG WAY I THINK WE CAN USE THIS DATA THAT WE'RE COLLECTING, WHICH THE PHARMACISTS ARE CONTRIBUTING, I THINK THAT'S A VALUE, VALUABLE ROLE THAT THEY CAN PLAY, IS THEIR SYSTEMS CAN PUSH ALL THIS DATA TO THE NARCOTICS PEOPLE

BUT THEY, I THINK, NEED TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP AND TO FIND THE PEOPLE THAT ARE BREAKING THE LAW PHARMACISTS AREN'T BREAKING THE LAW, PHYSICIANS AREN'T BREAKING THE LAW TYPICALLY IN THESE DRUG ABUSE SCENARIOS PATIENTS ARE BREAKING THE LAW BY LYING TO PHYSICIANS, LYING TO PHARMACISTS, GOING TO MANY TO GET ALL THESE DRUGS I MEAN THAT'S, I THINK WE OVER FOCUS SOMETIMES ON THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS I, I, I WANT TO INVOLVE THEM, BUT I DON'T WANT TO HINDER THEIR PRACTICE

ROB: YOU KNOW, AND WE TALK ABOUT BREAKING THE LAW AND SOMETIMES IT SEEMS A LITTLE INOCUOUS IN THAT IT'S JUST AFFECTING THE PEOPLE THAT ARE ABUSING THE DRUGS, BUT THERE ARE MORE AND MORE REPORTS OF BREAK-INS IN PHARMACIES AND EVEN ARMED ROBBERIES, MAKING THIS ALMOST A VIOLENT PROFESSION, OR AT LEAST, THE FEAR OF VIOLENCE IN THIS PROFESSION STANDRIDGE: YEAH, IT IS AND YOU, WE'VE BEEN VICTIMS OURSELVES, MY WIFE IS A PHARMACIST AS WELL AND SO, YEAH, WE WE NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE CAN GET A HANDLE ON IT BECAUSE IT IS BECOMING THAT WAY, IN THAT, YOU KNOW, PHARMACIES HAVE TO FEAR FOR THIS BEFORE IT WAS THE FEAR OF THEM COMING IN AND MAYBE STEALING A FEW DRUGS AND MONEY PRIMARILY

NOW YOU HAVE THESE GUYS THAT MAY ALREADY BE STRUNG OUT ON SOME KIND OF DRUGS AND THEY'RE JUST AFTER MORE DRUGS AND I THINK THAT'S A PROBLEM I THINK IT'S A LAW ENFORCEMENT PROBLEM I THINK PHARMACISTS CAN HELP, BUT SOMEHOW WE HAVE GOT TO GET IT UNDER CONTROL BUT, BUT IT IS, IT IS A PROBLEM AND IT KINDA MAKES YOU NERVOUS

ROB: DO YOU SEE ANY CORRELATION BETWEEN PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE AND THEN STREET-DRUG ABUSE THAT WE, WE KNOW IS ALSO FAIRLY PREDOMINANT IN THE STATE? STANDRIDGE: ABSOLUTELY, I THINK , I THINK THERE'S DEFINITELY CORRELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO; IN FACT, I WATCH IN VIDEOS ONLINE AND STUFF ABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE I HEAR A LOT OF THE ADDICTS TALK ABOUT HOW HEROIN AND OXYCODONE ARE, THEY KIND OF PUT THOSE IN THE SAME BOAT SO THEY KIND OF MENTALLY THINK ABOUT, WELL, I'D EITHER RATHER HAVE THE PRESCRIPTION DURG OR RATHER HAVE THE ILLICIT DRUG ONE THING I'VE HEARD PRETTY COMMON WHICH GOES ALONG WITH MY COMENTS ABOUT AUSTIN BOX A MINUTE AGO, SOMETHING I HEAR QUITE OFTEN IS, WELL, THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG OXYCODONE IS MUCH BETTER THAN HEROIN BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE TO GO DOWN TO THE STREET CORNER AND BUY IT, YOU KNOW IN A BACKDOOR DEAL AND MAYBE GET SHOT IN THE PROCESS, I JUST TAKE IT FROM A FRIEND OR STEAL IT OUT OF SOMEBODY'S MEDICINE CABINET OR JUST GO DOCTOR SHOPPING SO, THEY THINK OF IT AS A MUCH SAFER, CLEANER

AND SO IT'S GOT THAT MINDSET THAT IT'S A BETTER DRUG ABUSE THAN AN ILLICIT BUT ILLICIT NOT'S UNDER CONTROL EITHER, SO SO THERE ARE BOTH PROBLEMS ROB: I WAS ALMOST SHOCKED TO SEE, AND IT WAS THE CDC NUMBER THAT SAID THAT ONE IN TWELVE OKLAHOMANS WOULD USE A PRESCRIPTION DRUG FOR A NON-MEDICAL USE; BASICALLY, ILLEGALLY STANDRIDGE: WELL I'VE HEARD THESE STATS TOO; I'VE ALSO HEARD STATS LIKE, A MORE COMMON STAT I'VE HEARD A FEW TIMES, I THINK I'VE HEARD ON CNN NOT TOO LONG AGO, WAS ONE OUT OF TWENTY IS USING A DRUG NOT THE WAY IT'S PRESCRIBED OR NOT THE APPROPIATE WAY

I THINK, I DON'T KNOW, I'D HATE TO THINK THAT IT'S ONE IN TWELVE BUT, BUT I DON'T KNOW I THINK MAYBE A LOT OF THAT STAT IS JUST SOMEBODY THAT'S NOT A DRUG ADDICT, BUT THEY'RE NOT USING IT THE WAY THEY'RE SUPPOSE TOO SO, YOU KNOW, LIKE IF YOU'VE GOT MAYBE SOME MEDICINE YOU THINK MIGHT HELP ME, I MEAN, THAT'S NOT USING IT APPROPRIATELY, BUT DOESN'T MAKE ME A DRUG ADDICT IT'S NOT LEGAL BY THE WAY, BUT I MEAN STILL, THAT HAPPENS AND FAMILY HAPPENS AND HUSBAND AND WIFE

SO A LOT OF THINGS INAPPROPRIATELY AND PEOPLE WOULD PROBABLY ANSWER THAT QUESTIONNAIRE I HATE TO THINK THAT IT'S ONE IN TWELVE THAT WE HAVE A DRUG PROBLEM WITH ROB: NOW I DON'T WANT TO MAKE ANYONE SET THROUGH AN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY CLASS HERE, BUT ARE THE DRUGS THAT WE PRESCRIBE, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS THAT ARE NORMALLY LEGALLY, DO THEY WORK DIFFERENTLY THAN THE DRUGS THAT YOU MIGHT FIND ON THE SAME STREET? OR ARE THEY BASICALLY THE SAME STUFF? STANDRIDGE: BASICALLY VERY SIMILAR, I MEAN YOU HAVE YOUR OPIATES OUT THERE YOU HAVE A PRESCRIPTION I MEAN THEY'RE ALL FAIRLY SIMILAR

THEY ALL COME FROM THE SAME ROOTS AND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT AMPHETAMINES OR METHAMPHETAMINES EARLIER IN MY OPINION, THE DRUG THAT'S CAUSING THE ADDICTION IS THE SAME DRUG WHETHER IT'S IN A RITALIN OR IT'S IN A METHAMPHETAMINE NOW, THE LONG-TERM NEGATIVE AFFECTS OF TAKING METHAMPHETAMINE, AS FAR AS WHAT IT DOES TO YOUR PERSON, I THINK IS, PHYSICALLY THAT IS, I THINK AND MENTALLY, I THINK IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT BECAUSE OF THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE DRUG AND ALL THE BAD THINGS THAT GET INTO IT BUT NO, I THINK THE DRUGS ARE VERY, VERY SIMILAR

IF THEY'RE NOT THE SAME DRUGS, THEY'RE ACTING THE SAME TO THE ADDICT ROB: ALRIGHT THANK YOU SO MUCH; SENATOR ROB STANDRIDGE, APPRECIATE YOU COMING INTO THE STUDIO STANDRIDGE: SURE, SURE, ANYTIME; THANK YOU

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