Doctors Offer Congress Solutions for the Prescription Drug Addiction Epidemic, Part I
The restrictions have been coming down around the country: prescription drug addiction is a huge problem and authorities are cracking down by implementing statewide prescription drug databases and putting the screws to prescribing physicians. Countless lawsuits have been filed by families and states against doctors who prescribe medications in situations where the patient ends up dying of a pill overdose – and doctors are getting cautious. Many are even cutting back on their practice or avoidant of patients claiming chronic pain issues. And now, a group of 125 doctors have gone straight to Capitol Hill to ask Congress to take measures that are actually helpful and put in place to protect the patient against the development of prescription drug addiction rather than running off the doctors who are genuinely attempting to prioritize patient care.
How Do Doctors Think Congress Should Fight Prescription Drug Addiction?
More than 30,000 people in the United States died of a drug overdose last year, and about 15,000 of those deaths were caused by prescription drug overdose. Doctors are suggesting that what is needed is not necessarily stricter legal repercussions when an overdose occurs but more training for doctors to better prevent overdoses from happening in the first place.
Dr. David Kloth is a spokesman for the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. He says: “In most cases, doctors contribute innocently because they haven’t been trained properly on how to prescribe in a responsible way, how to identify a drug addict and help them.”
According to Kloth, between 80 percent and 90 percent of American doctors have not training that can help them identify drug addiction or help patients prevent it from happening. A simple certification class that is routine in other circumstances would be appropriate in the case of pain management and the dispensation of prescription drugs.
What are the Benefits of Mandatory Prescription Drug Addiction Training for Doctors
Says Dr. Kloth: “Physicians won’t do this voluntarily. If we don’t have this in some way required, we won’t be able to solve this problem fully. This is now the No. 1 cause of accidental death in 20 out of 50 states, surpassing motor vehicle accidents for the first time. This is a very widespread problem and it needs to be addressed.”
Though currently able to legally prescribe drugs, many doctors don’t take into account the dangers that come with prescriptions that are too large or last too long. For example, many doctors will write a prescription for the standard 30 pills to treat acute pain after an injury or surgery when 7-days’ worth will be more than sufficient.
Check in for Part II and get more details about what proper training would entail and how it would help patients avoid prescription drug addiction.