SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— A rally was held on the steps of the State Capitol Monday to bring attention to what organizers say is an epidemic of prescription drug misuse in California.

March is Prescription Drug Awareness Month and the targets of the Sacramento rally are doctors who over prescribe and the officials who are supposed to police them.

Legislative hearings were underway Monday to determine whether the state’s 13-member medical board should be replaced with new members.

Jamie Court with Consumer Watchdog said board members aren’t doing anything to tame doctors who recklessly prescribe addictive drugs.

“This board for instance is controlled by physicians who refuse to authorize greater physicians licensing fees to data minds.”

Court was referring to a database of prescription data and how he’d like to see oversight of that to see who the over-prescribers are so that they can save lives.

“There’s a whole industry of pain management doctors not being policed, not being watched,” he said.

Consumer advocates and family members of those who died from prescription abuse are also lobbying for new patient safety laws and legislation and programs to curb the drug abuse epidemic.

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano from San Francisco has been in the forefront of this issue.

“Unfortunately it’s an equal opportunity phenomenon, so no matter what the race, gender or the class background,” he said about the problem’s ability to affect anyone.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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