The opiate epidemic has hit so many lives over the past decade. The amount of people that are losing their lives is causing many politicians to start figuring out new ways to protect their citizens. This is started by new legislation and changing the way that these medications are prescribed. For a long time, the black market was flooded with these medications and they were heavily abused. But what has happened is that the new laws have made it harder for addicts to get their hands on these drugs. This is a victory in every sense of the word and more and more young teens are never seeing these medications when just years ago they were readily available.
One such way of lowering the amount on pills on the black market was when the Prescription Drug Monitoring Systems (PDMS) were put into place. These databases keep track of every medication that is prescribed to each patient. The PDMS is keeping patients safe in many ways. Obviously it keeps addicts from obtaining multiple prescriptions of opiates and it also lets doctors see if patients are taking medications that effect one another. (Helping to stop drug interactions)
Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has been doing his best to fight the opiate epidemic every chance he can. His newest move on cracking down on the amount of prescription painkillers prescribed is to place new rules on how doctors can prescribed these addictive medications and how they deal with addicted patients. Baker recently filed a bill with the Legislature that would allow doctors to prescribe only a 72-hour supply of opiates the fist time a patient receives their medication.
"I and many others have listened to far too many stories of people who come home from the doctor's office, the dentist or the hospital with 30, 40, 50, 60, 80 tabs of all kinds of opioids when a handful would do. This has got to stop," Baker said at a Thursday press conference rolling out his new legislation.
The new proposal increases the education for doctors regarding pain treatment. It will also allow doctors to hold patients for 72 hours, without a court order, to try and persuade the addict to go to a rehabilitation facility.
Baker's plan is considered ground-breaking and would create "a new pathway for treatment for individuals with substance use disorder."
On the other side of the coin when dealing with the 72-hour hospitalization, you will be creating issues that have not been seen before. Dr. Dennis Dimitri, the president of the Massachusetts Medical Society thinks that this new legislation will do more harm than good. He is worried that people who would normally ask for help will not come in for fear that they will be detained.
"I think that we should have the specialists in addiction and pain treatment weigh in very carefully on that, because we don't want to have a mandate out there for involuntary commitment if there's little evidence that it would be a useful approach," Dimitri said.