About two years ago, there were stronger guidelines introduced by the Tennessee department of health to reduce the opioid epidemic. According to Commissioner John Dreyzehner, it is all aimed at curbing the substance misuse that is driven by the misuse of prescription opioids. He pointed out that the commission was aware of new and emerging challenges that make it difficult to handle the problem. However, the best part, according to him, is that all is no lost and that if everyone commits to the plans established by his commission, there is no doubt that a lot of progress will be made.
He was quick to acknowledge the noble people in the community from various parts of the state who dedicate lots of hours trying to help those affected by addictions. These people, he said, often work passionately and with a lot of creativity just to ensure that everything is well taken care of. In this group are pharmacists and pharmacies. These are the people who process orders from the doctor and so, they are responsible for a huge part of the process. By passing along the medicines to the patients, they ensure that they not only manage chronic pain but also do so without fueling the addiction epidemic.
Wayne Copp, a popular pharmacist in this region, said the most common prescriptions that he had to fill every day are either Subutex or Suboxone. These two contain the drug buprenorphine which has been hailed recently as one of the most effective ways to handle addiction. What worries many, however, is that this drug can be highly addictive thus controlling the behaviors of those who use them. If s patient gets hooked, it will be quite difficult to let them off. This is exactly the reason why the commissioner is advocating for more measures that involve everyone in the community to contribute towards the fight against this epidemic.
However, no matter the fact that a certain fraction of his customers are probably using their prescriptions for the wrong reasons, he says that he treats all his customers the same way as patients who have been receiving blood pressure medicine for close to thirty years. It is not always easy to determine the patient who is going to abuse the drugs. Indeed, statistics from government sources show that there are many prescription drugs that often end up in the wrong hands. This is the challenge that the community needs to face. He urged people to ensure that drugs that are not in use are returned safely.
There however is to easy fix to these challenges. The problems unfold and multiply right in front of Copp’s eyes and it can sometimes be frustrating. During his many hears as a pharmacist, he has noted that it can sometimes be multifaceted making even harder to solve. His peers also expressed simi8lar fears but said that they were ready to work even harder to ensure that this epidemic does not continue to mess the lives of otherwise productive youths from the area and beyond.