Although prescription drug abuse appears to have flattened off on a national level, there are still parts of the country experiencing rising use. One such example is Iowa, where painkiller addiction keeps increasing. While it is true that there are people who have legitimate reasons for taking drugs like OxyContin or Percocet, some people believe that doctors are too quick to write prescriptions for the addictive pills. Perhaps there are other ways of dealing with many pain-related issues that don’t involve narcotics, which have a high potential for abuse.
“We’re looking at more overdose deaths from physician’s prescriptions than from all the drug lords in South America and Mexico,” explained David Paulsrud, a medical director for a treatment center.
Over the past several years the prescription drug abuse in this country has exploded. The impact that painkillers have had on society and the family structure is overwhelming. Many new addicts still have the false belief that prescription painkillers are safer than heroin, when in reality they are not much different. Both create the same euphoric effect and both have the same potential for addiction and death by overdose.
There have been serious efforts on the part of healthcare providers to curb the number of people who obtain a prescription for the purpose of abuse. Some utilize a monitoring tool that allows them to see if the patient has received a similar prescription from another doctor. Emergency room doctors no longer send patients home with samples of prescription painkillers and doctors are getting trained in spotting the signs that someone is drug seeking.
It has been discovered that pharmaceutical companies likely misled many doctors about the potential for addiction that painkillers carried with them, and as such cities like Chicago have filed lawsuits against the drug makers for the havoc wreaked on their citizens. There was also a landmark settlement on a Federal level with Purdue Pharma many years ago that resulted in a huge fine, but no jail time for the deaths that were caused by the promotion of OxyContin. Although serious efforts are being made to stop the prescription drug abuse problem and progress may be starting to occur in many parts of the country, it is clear that more education and a change in the way prescription painkillers are relied on are key points to stopping more children, teenagers and adults from continuing to abuse the pills.