WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske told CNN on Thursday that Michael Jackson's death is a "wake-up call" about prescription drug abuse in America.
"You know, the very sad and untimely loss of Michael Jackson is a wake-up call to the country about prescription drugs," Kerlikowske said in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on 'The Situation Room.' "I really don't know anything more than I have read about this. But if we can save lives and if we can bring to the attention of the people the dangers of prescription drug abuse, I think there is some benefit to this country."
Kerlikowske, who is referred to as the drug czar, said more people die each year from drug overdoses than from gunshot wounds. And he said there are a lot of different problems that contribute to the high fatality numbers. To combat this issue, Kerlikowske said he advocates prescription drug monitoring programs passed by individual states and a media campaign focused on keeping young people off these types of medication.