There is a new epidemic sweeping the nation. It is claiming many thousands of lives as it grows. It has to do with dependence on opioids. Many people think that part of the blame lies with the fact that there are a seemingly endless number of painkillers being prescribed. As opposed to attempting to diagnose pain that is non-specific, doctors are simply writing prescriptions in an effort to make their patients feel better.
Because of this, the patient might end up getting to the point where they are dependent on these medications and will eventually turn to other drugs, such as heroin, in an effort to satiate their need.
When people become dependent on opioids, before they turn to harder drugs, they could admit that there is a problem and attend an opioid addiction and treatment program. However, not many people come to this decision at first. This is because they may not admit to having a problem, or even just because they enjoy the feeling of being pain-free too much.
In the Doctors’ Hands
Believe it or not, the problem might lie with the doctors who are prescribing these painkillers. There needs to be a focus on diagnosing the source of the pain as opposed to just treating it. That being said, new technology that is helping with the tracking of this kind of drug from the doctor to the patient and beyond is helping. While this doesn’t solve the problem, it does make it a bit easier to determine how people are ending up with these painkillers or who might be doctor shopping for more pain meds.
The Government’s Role
Across the US, lawmakers are continuing to roll out new guidelines for opioid prescriptions in an effort to assist in the reduction and overuse of these drugs. That being said, not every doctor is paying close attention to these regulations and are continuing to simply write out prescriptions.
Because of this, people like nurses are now being relied upon to educate the doctors they work for when it comes to the dangers of opioids being overprescribed. Some states in the US are actually paying nurses to visit doctors’ offices on a voluntary basis as an effort to get the doctors to change their habits. This program is currently used in Pennsylvania and has reached more than 2500 doctors. Visits of this type can include imparting scientific facts when it comes to the epidemic, along with materials that are more tangible, like pocket cards, that the doctors and nurses can hand out to patients to help explain why they can’t just have that certain prescription.
Help is Available
It is critical to keep in mind that even though this epidemic is a bit scary, there is help available. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to opioids, there are treatment centers that are available and can help. Most of them have board certified doctors who have been trained when it comes to helping people with addiction to opioids. Help is only a simple phone call away. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until it is too late.