In accordance with the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioids are medications that relieve pain. These drugs reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the consequences of a painful stimulus. But, from a random prescribing of opioids the specter of gross abuse also looms large on the society.
At the very least 44 people die daily in the USA in consequence of prescription opioid overdose, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Drug overdose was the leading reason for injury death in 2023. Amongst people 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose caused more deaths than motorcar traffic crashes,” it states.
These are indeed petrifying figures. Urging doctors to curtail prescribing random opioids, the CDC says, “A rise in painkiller prescribing is a key driver of the rise in prescription overdoses.” America is within the grip of an epidemic of drug abuse, and the prescription drug abuse helpline numbers are busier than ever.
Even the governments – each federal and in states – have been anxious the best way drug overdoses, mostly of prescription opioids, have been claiming lives across the U.S. The Obama administration has been doing all it may possibly to curb the epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
“So I hope we are able to work together this 12 months on some bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform and helping people who find themselves battling prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse. So, who knows, we’d surprise the cynics again,” said President Obama in his final State of the Union address in January 2023.
Aside from rehabs offering prescription drug addiction treatment help, everyone can contribute towards eradicating this evil plaguing our society. As per the CDC, the federal government is essentially contributing towards this endeavor by lending support to the states that need to develop programs and policies to forestall prescription painkiller overdose. Additionally it is ensuring patients’ access to protected and effective pain treatment.
“The Obama administration this 12 months proposed $133 million in recent spending to curb overprescribing, increase the quantity of overdose data collected and expand access to Naloxone, a drug that may reverse the consequences of an opiate overdose. In August, the administration announced an initiative to pair drug enforcement officers with public medical examiners to trace heroin routes, and it tightened prescribing rules for a well-liked painkiller,” said an article in The Washington Post in October 2023.
Even health care providers can contribute towards this. As outlined by the CDC, they will:
- Use prescription drug monitoring programs to discover patients who is likely to be misusing their prescribed drugs, putting them in danger for overdose.
- Use effective treatments resembling methadone or buprenorphine for patients with substance abuse problems.
- Check with patients the risks and advantages of pain treatment options, including ones that don’t involve prescription painkillers.
- Follow best practices for responsible painkiller prescribing, including screening for substance abuse and mental health problems.
- Avoid combos of prescription painkillers and sedatives unless there’s a selected medical indication.
- Prescribe the bottom effective dose and only the amount needed depending on the expected length of pain.
Everyone has a job to play in curbing the spread of prescription drug abuse. Creating awareness about not using opioids beyond the prescribed limit, not sharing prescriptions with others and disposing of unused medicines, etc. will help to an excellent extent. As parents and guardians there ought to be a relentless tab on children about their unusual activities. Opioids prescriptions ought to be evaded their reach.