Prescription painkiller abuse has been an issue all around the United States. It does not matter where you live or what the median household income is of your town, the problem with prescription painkillers is there. In fact, the issue with prescription painkillers has been so incredibly out of control, that many people consider the problem to be an epidemic. What used to be an issue with mostly low income city residents, prescription painkiller and drug abuse in general has been taking over even the nicest and wealthiest of towns. No one is out of reach of the epidemic.
The state of Missouri is feeling the effects of the epidemic first hand. According to a study from the Missouri Hospital Association, the rate of hospitalization due to the abuse of prescription opioid medications has increased by 137 percent since 2005. This is a drastic increase in prescription painkiller abuse over the past decade. The numbers are right in line with national statistics. These numbers are staggering and in most states, drug overdoses are the leading case of accidental death, surpassing car accidents.
The data that was compiled was done so to get a better plan together to start a conversation among health care providers in Missouri. The spokesman for The Missouri Hospital Association Dave Dillion said, “We need to get together identify what is within the realm of possible to reduce this and start developing state policies, if in fact that’s the right answer, that we can implement ourselves or that lawmakers can help us implement.”
The push to inform healthcare providers of the importance of being closer connected with the patients they prescribe is paramount. Knowing your patients’ needs and concentrating on different options besides pain management will help drop the amounts of prescription painkillers from being abused. “These are really, really important painkillers within the health care community, and they are most likely not going go to go away. So we have some responsibility as a provider community to do our best to insure that they are used appropriately and don’t get into the wrong hands,” Dillon said.
One way to make a drastic change to the way that prescription opiates are prescribed is for the state of Missouri to get on board with the rest of the country and administer a prescription drug monitoring system. As of right now, Missouri is the only state in the country to not have it. The program is simple and extremely beneficial to all parties. It is a system that monitors all the medications that a patient is or has been prescribed. It is valuable information for doctors to see if their patients are prescribed narcotics from more than one doctor and to also see if the medications they are on could have a conflict with something that may be prescribed. It keeps everyone safer and Missouri needs to implement this system as soon as possible.