Baucus, Tester and Bullock Join Together To Fight Abuse of Over-The-Counter and Prescription Drugs

HELENA – Montana's two U.S. Senators and Attorney General have joined forces to combat the growing misuse of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester along with Attorney General Steve Bullock announced their support Tuesday for designating October as National Medical Abuse Awareness Month.  Baucus and Tester have signed on as co-sponsors of a measure in the Senate that will raise awareness of the misuse of over-the-counter and prescription medications and urge communities to implement educational programs associated with medicinal abuse.

Last year in Montana, 321 people died from the misuse of prescription drugs – more than traffic fatalities and homicides combined.  Montana ranks 3rd in the nation for teen abuse of prescription pain relievers with 9.6 percent reporting abuse in the past year.

"Prescription drug abuse is a widespread problem that is devastating Montana families and hurting Montana’s communities," said Baucus.  "This resolution will help to focus attention on a critically important issue, and I will continue to fight for federal resources to keep our kids and our communities safe."

"Getting a handle on the over-the-counter and prescription drug abuse problem requires a team effort," said Tester, a member of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee.  "The numbers are overwhelming, which is why we’ll do our part to get Montana’s communities the resources they need to keep our kids and neighbors safe and smart when it comes to prescription drugs."

Bullock, who recently announced a statewide prescription drug advisory council, has made fighting the abuse of prescription drugs a priority for his office.

"The number of Montanans whose lives are affected by the misuse of prescription drugs is shocking.  This measure will raise the profile of the problem and lead to better prevention efforts," said Bullock.  "I look forward to working with Max and Jon to develop a comprehensive solution to the abuse of medications – one that includes education, law enforcement and treatment."

More information on S. Res. 263, which is sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), can be found online HERE.