The serious attention that has been directed to the opiate addiction epidemic continues to gather momentum. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new set of guidelines which requires doctors to reduce opioid painkiller prescriptions.
Another well-funded advocacy group Shatterproof has also joined in the debate. On their part, in as much as the prescriptions have to be limited, they think that a better approach would be to make doctors use databases when prescribing these drugs. This would prevent inadvertent prescriptions especially when there are concerns that patients who already have existing prescriptions are also getting similar drugs. The combination of such medications can cause dangerous effects.
Being a nonprofit organization, Shatterproof focuses mainly on opiate addiction. Chief executive officer Gary Mendell says that although various states already have legislations that require doctors to check prescription monitoring databases, the trend has to spread to all of them. He notes that some states only require pharmacists tasked with dispensing the drugs to make notes in the records.
The Growing Problems
There are lots of problems that are faced by the databases which make it difficult for them to be effective. There are some that do not communicate among themselves. For instance, you cannot link the data between state databases, Active military, and Veterans administration databases. The implication of this is that many patients are likely to slip through the cracks. It is easy to get multiple prescriptions with the intentions of either abusing the drugs or selling them. There even are those who take opiates alongside sedatives unaware of the risks.
Prescription of opioid painkillers which had been recommended in 1986 skyrocketed after the entry of OxyContin in the market ten years later. According to studies, although opiates successfully alleviate chronic pain, they are not better than the conditions that they are supposed to ease. Gary Franklin says that problem started when doctors were trained to believe that these drugs are not harmful. If fact, there are people who believe that there is no limit on the dose and so, any patient who wants them should get them.
Increased Pills Mean Increased Addiction
There is no doubt that the availability of more pills has helped to fuel the addiction epidemic. The Drug overdose crisis is a result of overprescribing by doctors. This is the reason why the two bodies are determined to change the situation by requiring doctors to limit the prescription in addition to consulting databases especially with the millions of addicted Americans constantly living in dangerous conditions. To do this, a lot has to be done starting with changes to the laws.
The hope is that both Shatterproof and CDC agree totally on what should be done. The calls for mandating databases are not new as many organizations have been calling for it. It has been a constant topic of debate in congress with various laws being proposed for each state. Shatterproof is also calling for increased education and awareness of all the people involved in the fight against this epidemic.