Physicians continue to dole out prescriptions for extremely high risk drug users
Latest data released from the CDC and JAMA confirm concerns over high volume prescription drugs. Most people assume that those who overdose from opioids get the drugs from friends or family. However, the latest data suggests that the source was actually from their physicians.
These finding continue to illustrate the easy access patients have to opioids via their doctors. Health care providers must increase screenings and drug monitoring programs to identify patients and physicians for abuse. State drug monitoring programs are essential to spot trends and patterns with specific physicians who are abusing the system. The data shows that those who abused opioids for over 200 days were those at highest risk of overdose. Out of those who did overdose, 27% of them overdosed from valid prescriptions. Those who “scored” drugs from friends and family were four times as likely to get drugs from a dealer or another stranger.
Overdosing on prescription opioids are quickly eclipsing other medications. The people at highest risk are 1) Those who got drugs from friends and family for free (via legal prescription) at 26% 2)Those who got drugs from friends and family in exchange for money (via legal prescription) at 23% 3) Those who got drugs from a drug dealer at 15%.
Test results show a direct correlation in high risk patients. Opioid use is increasing via a larger amount of prescriptions. Large amount of prescriptions are leading to a higher volume of abuse and overdoses. In a four year analysis, some states are showing a 32% rate increase and corresponding opioid prescriptions.
The AMA and Physicians must obtain and compile more data to:
~Fully track drug overdoses and define patterns of opioid abuse
~Spend significant money on R&D to develop non-addictive opioids
~ Develop better drugs to combat opioid addiction
~ Better patient management, including education and patient counseling for opioids
~ Stronger enforcement of those who are over-prescribing opioids to high risk patients.
~ Proper use of medical claims and paperwork to spot prescription abuse
~ Increase legislation and licensing for “pain clinics”
~ Increase access and funding for substance abuse treatment centers / drug rehab.
~ Educate parents to lock up drugs in the home.
Physicians take a Hippocratic Oath to uphold a number of professional ethical standards. However, all eyes are focusing on Federal and State agencies to solve the abusive problems of prescription Opioids. All agencies must work in unison to properly solve this issue.