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Michael Jackson: Prescription drug abuse a major lesson

Michael Jackson died a year ago from a physician-administered anesthetic. More than 20,000 people die each year from prescription-drug overdoses, some of whom get drugs from more than one doctor.

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Michael Jackson's doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, appears at Los Angeles Superior court. Dr. Murray has been charged with involuntary manslaughter related to Michael Jackson’s death.

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It’s been a year since Michael Jackson’s death from a powerful, doctor-administered anesthetic put the world spotlight on prescription drug abuse. But most analysts, academics, and patient advocate groups feel very little has been done to change the rules and procedures governing such drugs.

“Since Michael Jackson’s death, this problem has grown in the US,” says Dr. David Kloth, board member, past president, and national spokesperson for American Society of Intervention Pain Physicians (ASIPP). “Celebrities are unfortunately good for this issue because they bring much needed attention to it.”

One big problem, say Kloth and others, is that the regulation of medicine and prescription writing is constitutionally a state matter, which creates a lack of uniformity and loopholes.

IN PICTURES: The King of Pop

Along with the North American Neuromodulation Society – which represents 4,000 physicians – ASIPP is converging on Capitol Hill June 29 to push for wider prescription drug abuse monitoring.

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