Pain Killers: Getting off is hard to do...

Prescription Drug Abuse a Real Problem


Prescription drug abuse has become a nationwide problem, but it is even more of a concern in West Virginia and Ohio.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked West Virginia at the top of the nation for drug overdose deaths in 2007, with Ohio ranking in the top 15, according to the report.

Unintentional drug overdoses became the leading cause of death in Ohio in 2007, surpassing motor vehicle crashes for the first time on record, according to the Ohio Department of Health. This trend continued in 2008.

The area has seen a sharp increase in the number of young people accidentally overdosing on prescription medicine and illegal drugs, especially heroin.

Several reasons account for this increase.

Doctor shopping has become one of the biggest reasons for drug overdoses in Ohio and West Virginia.

In Ohio in 2008, 16 percent of drug overdose deaths had a history of doctor shopping, doctor shopping being defined as filling prescriptions from at least five different doctors.

West Virginia is proposing criminal background checks on doctors and pharmacists as a way to curb drug overdoses.

The blame for the problem may in some small measure be placed on doctors who knowingly write false prescriptions. But the major part of the blame can be placed on patients who go from doctor to doctor and lie about having other prescriptions.

Ohio can and does run database checks on people who have multiple prescriptions for painkillers from several doctors. But there is a question on whether that violates the privacy of those who have legitimate prescriptions.

A recent national report showed for the first time abuse of painkillers and other medication is sending as many people to the hospital emergency room as the use of illegal drugs.

Accidental overdose deaths occur when people with no medical background begin to combine prescription drugs, whether painkillers or anti-anxiety medications, or take way more than the safe amount.

States have to step up enforcement activities similar to what was done with the over-the-counter purchases of pseudoephedrine, a main ingredient in the illegal drug crystal methamphyetamine. It hasn’t stopped the meth labs from popping up but it has made it more difficult to get the ingredients. Unfortunately, many people who are addicted to pain killers will turn to heroin to satisfy their addiction when they have a difficult time in getting a prescription for opioids.

Doctors have to rely upon the honesty of patients when filling out prescription medications. Searching a state pharmacy database to determine that person’s history of prescription medications may help, as long as it is specific and doesn’t include wholesale database searching that may violate patient privacy.

Too many people are abusing prescription medications. Too many people are dying as a result.

Written by Larry C. - Visit Website
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