In order to rein in the opioid crisis, experts believe it is the duty of physicians, pharmacist and patients to collectively identify and prevent the misuse of prescription painkillers. Now, a new study that analyzed the rate at which opioids were prescribed at 176 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and clinics nationwide has recommended non-opioid and non-pharmacologic pain management options for patients battling chronic painful conditions. The researchers of the study opposed the use of long-term opioid therapy (LTOT), citing risk of addiction.
Examining the treatment of over 1 million veterans struggling with severe pain from 2010 to 2015, the researchers observed significant disparities in the frequency in which veterans were initiated into LTOT, depending on the hospital or facility. The findings suggested that hospitals which provided other pain management options like yoga, acupuncture, or physical therapies had lower incidence of patients being introduced to LTOT, compared to facilities that didn’t offer these alternatives. Co-author of the study Joseph Frank, a primary care doctor at Denver’s VA hospital, said, “It may be something about facilities’ and providers’ comfort with prescribing as a tool.”
The study insists on using alternative options to ease the huge dependence on opioids as the sole pain management tools in the hands of doctors. A recent groundbreaking initiative launched by the Colorado Hospital Association showed a 36 percent decline in opioid use in eight hospitals and two emergency rooms in the state. The simple focus on alternative therapies led to the dramatic reduction in opioid prescriptions.
The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) describes chronic pain as the major cause of suffering of millions nationwide that has triggered a year-on-year surge in health care and rehabilitation costs, alongside a corresponding decline in productivity. Such a nationwide occurrence calls for a larger acknowledgement of the chronic pain problem, and the need to switch to safer options to handle the situation.
Most people consider opioids as the only means to conquer post-surgical pain or any painful condition such as cancer. On the flipside, they aren’t aware of the long-term risks of prescription opioids, the dangers of exceeding prescribed doses, and the possibilities of slipping into addiction. In such a situation, experts believe the best way to fight the epidemic is to spread awareness about addiction and insist on evidence-based screening techniques in the consultation process. Besides, seeking assistance from a reputed drug abuse rehabilitation center can go a long way in fighting addiction.
Opioid addiction is treatable
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 115 people every day succumb to opioid overdose. In such a situation, a multi-disciplinary approach is the only way forward to ensure long-term patient care, which includes expanding access to addiction help and providing information on non-narcotic methods to manage pain. Importantly, pharmacists must remain vigilant at all times to identify counterfeit prescriptions or any alterations, which could lead to abuse or overdose.
Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who finds it difficult to discontinue the use of opioids despite the negative impact on his/her life. Our customized prescription drug abuse treatment programs are designed to treat an addicted person holistically. If you or your loved one is battling addiction to any prescription drug, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our counselor to know about the most effective therapies at our state-of-the-art prescription drug addiction rehabs.