Drug Monitoring Programs Needed to Decrease Prescription Opioid Dangers
According to a recent article, the use of opioid prescriptions has increased by four times since the mid 1990s. At the same time, many who have used drugs of this kind for recreation have also become addicted to them and the overdose death rates have shot up.
Almost 75 percent of all deadly drug overdoses in America are from prescription drugs. The numbers here far outweigh those from heroin and cocaine combined and also outdoes car accidents.
This is partly due to hospitals now asking for your pain level along with taking your other vitals such as temperature and blood pressure. The New England Journal of Medicine recently proposed a plan that outlines a prescription-drug monitoring program.
The plan would allow dentists, doctors, law enforcement, pharmacists and researchers to have access to “real time” data from patients’ drug histories from prescriptions.
The authors, of the study, believe the program would enable doctors to better care for those patients with legitimate pain problems. This would also help them to identify and then intervene when necessary to aid possible drug abusers and cut down on the number of prescription opioids from illegal sales.
There is an urgency to address the need to initiate safety measures due to skyrocketing rates of death and illness because of this prescription problem. Some recommendations call for samples from urine screens or having patients sign something called a pain contract where they vow not to give or sell their drugs.
The drug monitoring system calls for information being submitted through the database, bar coded prescriptions, logging input of entries quickly, and an e-prescribing system that will be eliminating paper waste that would also cut down on prescription fraud and “doctor shopping”.
The authors, of this study, believe there are many benefits to the monitoring program that allow clinicians to see early warning signs when patients need treatment or counseling. It would allow them the chance to intervene while patients are still at the medical site.