The solution to the prescription drug abuse epidemic is very complex. We believe that the solution lies in a multi-faceted approach comprising EDUCATION, TREATMENT, REGULATION AND ENFORCEMENT. While some may believe that regulatory and enforcement aspects are most effective in this endeavor, our belief is that education and treatment of those affected should be emphasized at this time.
How can we change the current trend?
There are number of ways to reverse the rising rates of prescription drug abuse, encompassing the entire spectrum of prescribing, dispensing, and use of prescription medication.
Adherence to evidence-based prescribing guidelines (e.g., limit opioids to 120mg MED for chronic, non-cancer pain – see Resources), increased vigilance for signs of abuse and diversion of controlled substances in emergency departments and busy primary care practices, utilization of PDMP data, etc., are just a few examples of how we can minimize abuse and diversion without compromising patient care.
Patients can assist by proper and secure storage of their medication as well as timely and proper disposal of unused product. Education of children on dangers associated with abuse of prescription drugs is critical to avoid further worsening of this problem. Furthermore, providing timely and adequate treatment for those affected by substance abuse is an essential element of the solution.
Please contact us to arrange for a presentation on possible solutions to this growing problem.