Curtailing The Abuse Of Opioids By Checking Patient History
People who are addicted to opioids are frequently using doctor-shopping techniques to obtain the opioids of their choice. Therefore, doctors in the United States can help to curb the epidemic of opioid abuse by checking the history of their patients before prescribing any powerful painkillers to them.
The opioids that are frequently sought after are OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. These opioids are only available through a prescription unless you purchase them from illegal sources, where the price charged could be higher.
[su_quote class=”cust-pagination”]“In terms of abuse and mortality, opioids account for the greatest proportion of the prescription drug abuse problem.”—Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control [/su_quote]
How Can Doctors Check The Abuse Of Opioids
Doctors are facing increasing pressure from the authorities that maintain a database for tracking opioid prescriptions. They are required to follow strict rules before prescribing opioids to their patients. For instance, they should ensure that they use the database to check the history of the patients’ previous prescriptions in an attempt to identify the abuse of opioids.
People who are addicted to opioids continue to shop for doctors knowing full well that a prescription is the best and the legitimate method to get opioids. The issue, therefore, is to get doctors change their behavior of handing out prescriptions. Luckily, the database is making it possible to combat the problem.
Results Achieved From the Use of a Database To Track The Abuse Of Opioids
New York has seen the sharpest decline in the abuse of opioids after the enforcement of strict rules on doctors. Researchers have also established that states that enforced a must access policy for prescription drug databases also noticed a drop in the number of Medicare patients who were earlier able to access a seven-month supply of opioids in just six months. Today, fewer people are contacting doctors for a prescription before running out of supplies from their previous prescription.
Studies also show that the number of Medicare patients involved in the abuse of opioids who were obtaining prescriptions from five or more doctors has reduced by 8% in the states where this policy was enforced. The number of opioid addicts who purchase them from pharmacies has also dropped by more than 15%.
The Effects of Prescription Database Regulations
The effects of prescription database regulations have been notable in states where the laws are stringent. New York is leading the list of states in this regard. Doctors in New York are required to check the history of the patient for the abuse of opioids and do so on every occasion. However, states that do not have stringent laws have also witnessed a reduction in doctor shopping.
Initially, the study was only looking at recipients of Medicare, but researchers have after that confirmed that their findings also apply to the general population. The study does not discount the possibility of people involved in the use of opioids traveling to a different state where regulations are lax to purchase the opioids they need without difficulties.
[su_quote class=”cust-pagination”]“No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions.” [/su_quote]
The prescription database regulations that are currently under enforcement may bring down the number of people who abuse opioids. However, more needs to be done if the epidemic is to be controlled. The database regulations must be applied throughout the country, and the application must be stringent on all counts.
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