There has been much research done about how prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the healthcare industry nationwide. Some doctors have started to take further precautions in prescribing certain medications as a result of this misuse. Even with these precautions individuals who are addicted to prescription medications find a way to get their fix through methods like doctor shopping or even taking medications that were prescribed to a friend or family member. Now more than ever, it seems more drastic prevention measures are needed. Thankfully the White House is now responding to said need.
The White House plan for prescription drug programs
The White House budget proposal for 2016 includes further funding for programs intended to fight the prescription drug abuse epidemic. The Obama administration’s budget would increase funding for programs such as the Centers for Disease Control, as well as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Organizations such as these tend to focus on efforts to help drug abusers receive treatment as opposed to being sent to jail for prescription fraud and misuse. States would also be granted more funding to ensure better prescription drug monitoring programs.
Moreover, naloxone, an opiate overdose antidote, would be used more frequently by first responders. Negotiations are under way for a lower price for a device that delivers this antidote. This is key because the drug needs to be administered quickly. The EpiPen-like device is known as Evzio and will be available to certain institutions that may distribute it further. Though the high cost of naloxone in the past has kept it from being a more common treatment, it has been used often in hospital emergency rooms.
Many now support the Food and Drug Administration recognition of naloxone as an efficient and safe means of reversing an opiate overdose. In addition, there are no known side effects associated with the drug and it has quite fast acting effects. The drug recently saved the life of an unconscious teen in Naperville, Illinois. This was possible because naloxone was made readily available to law enforcement in the region. As police are often the first to respond, the availability of this drug to them is quite critical in saving lives.
Included in the efforts to combat prescription drug abuse would be training programs for emergency responders as to how to best assist in cases of abuse or overdose. Typically individuals who doctor shop report a plethora of symptoms; thereby trying to increase the different prescriptions and sources from which they receive. Under new proposals these high risk patients would only be allowed to obtain medications from certain pharmacies or providers. Law enforcement would also include counseling and treatment in their rehabilitation programs. Millions of dollars will be provided for treatment of inmates and former inmates. Meanwhile, continuing to educate the public about the dangers involved will remain a priority.
Also to assist prevention methods, mental health professionals may do their part by asking patients about drug use. This will help increase the likelihood of an early intervention for those who are addicted to prescription drugs. States will also be more able to set up electronic databases that keep track of doctors who are over prescribing prescription drugs. Some groups do believe that more focus and funding should be allocated toward the prevention of such abuse in the first place. This is not without merit, as it may prevent the need for other costs related to the results of prescription drug abuse. Regardless, ease of availability will continue to be a pressing concern in the debate of potential for an addiction.
Addressing this problem in the most expedient and efficient way possible is important because prescription drugs are one of the main reasons that health care costs are on the rise. It is also worth noting that a large number of the population is reaching retirement age and this tends to be an especially susceptible age for prescription drug abuse. This makes acting fast all the more relevant. Of course, some patients who are not as familiar with the dangers of this type of drug abuse may assume that these drugs are completely safe and free of addictive potential, as opposed to illicit street drugs. In an effort to assisting this movement, a number of drug manufacturers and regulators nationwide are working to provide medications that are less habit forming, so as to decrease the likelihood of abuse.
According to the Obama Administration, overdose deaths have skyrocketed 300 percent between 1999 and 2011. About $60 million will go to the states for prevention efforts, while the rest of the budgeted funding will go to different federal agencies. Hopefully, such efforts will do their part to help combat the growing prescription drug dilemma that our nation now faces.
Sovereign Health of California ensures clinicians and staff are abreast of the latest science studies and news in regard to treatment, prevention and rehabilitation. We provide treatment programs for those dealing with mental health disorder, drug and alcohol addiction and co-occurring conditions. To learn more about our programs for prescription drug abuse you can call (866) 819-0427 for more information.
Written by Sovereign Health Group writer, Ryan McMaster