WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush warned Wednesday that physicians are prescribing too many drugs for their patients, and called for “strong, strong enforcement” against “bad actors” to crack down on the problem.
Bush’s comments came during a campaign meet-and-greet at a pharmacy in Hollis, N.H., where the former Florida governor recalled his daughter Noelle’s struggles with substance abuse more than a decade ago. She was arrested in 2002 on charges of trying to fill a false prescription.
“A lot of us have had family issues related to drug addition. My precious daughter was caught in a pharmacy actually,” Bush said. “And there are bad actors where you have people that over-prescribe, you have people pharmacy shopping, doctor shopping. It’s a lucrative business when people commit these crimes, and there should be strong, strong enforcement.”
Bush has talked about his daughter’s struggles on the campaign trail before. But on Wednesday, he suggested a strong link between substance abuse and doctors who are too quick to write prescriptions. He cited Florida’s prescription drug monitoring program, which collects records of controlled substance prescriptions from pharmacies, as a model for ways to solve the problem.
“As a culture we need to stop overprescribing. Doctors prescribe way too much medicine,” Bush said.
“The American Medical Association supported the FDA’s allowing for prescribing of oxycontin or opiates for children. This is not appropriate. I mean, just — we have to take a pause and recognize that we’re not, you know, pain is part of life. That you have to monitor of pain, for sure. And you have to deal with it. But overprescribing creates all sorts of adverse outcomes as well.”
“And I just think — I’ve suffered with this as a governor and as a dad. And I know so many people that have had similar kinds of experiences,” Bush said.
Matt Viser of The Boston Globe contributed to this report.