The rising incidents of prescription drug overdoses have been alarming. As a result, ways to combat the issue have been a hot topic amongst the medical and addiction communities. Painkillers are often prescribed to patients who are recovering from an invasive surgery or for other cases of chronic pain.
However, the painkillers are meant to only be used on a temporary basis and stopped after the pain has subsided. Unfortunately, what sometimes occurs is that people who are prescribed painkillers become dependent on them, and continue to seek out the dangerous prescription drugs even after they shouldn’t be using them anymore. Pennsylvania, in particular, has taken strong steps to curb prescription drug abuse, putting the onus on the doctors.
A prescription drug database will be launched next year in mid- 2015. In Pennsylvania’s case these steps were taken because Pennsylvania has one of the highest drug overdose rates in the country.
The Pennsylvania Prescription Database
When the idea of a Pennsylvania Prescription Database was first proposed it caused some controversy, because of privacy issues. However, overall, there was a lot of support behind the database and it will officially launch next year. The sheer growing numbers of fatalities was a strong factor, with the number of fatalities to prescription drugs more than doubling in the last decade.
The goals of the database are to discourage prescription drug abuse, in particular “doctor shopping.” This refers to when people who have developed addictions to prescription drugs go from doctor to doctor seeking more prescriptions. Since the patient doesn’t disclose the other prescriptions, over time a dangerous addiction is pursued.
With the Pennsylvania Prescription Database the doctors now have a resource that they can check before prescribing a new patient more drugs. The goal is to dramatically reduce the amount of times people overdose on prescription drugs.
Recovering From Prescription Drug Addiction Is Difficult
Preventing the issue before it happens is often cited as the best solution to many medical or addiction problems. And the Pennsylvania Prescription Database can give doctors the tools to do their part in prevention.
In many cases, patients didn’t even have to see a doctor to renew a prescription, but now medical staff has resources and pressure from the medical establishment to check a patient’s history of addiction. Doctors are going to be held more responsible for how many prescription drugs they dole out, and are encouraged to be mindful of a patient’s past.
This will help save money and resources that may have to be used in the future to help a person who has become addicted to prescription drugs. Recovery from these can be notoriously difficult and hard to recover from, with hydrocodone being one of the most common drugs.
When people first start detoxing from the drugs, withdrawal can be severe, and must always be supervised by addiction professionals. And detox often has to be done when a person is already at their weakest point, since side effects of prescription drug abuse are:
- Alarming weight loss/lack of appetite
- Low blood pressure
- A weakened liver
- Slower heartbeat
However, the good news is that people can make a full recovery from abusing prescription drugs like opiates if they get professional treatment, the sooner the better. The first step in getting treatment is recognizing that one has an addiction. Because drugs are prescribed by doctors, patients may think they are less dangerous than illegal narcotics, but the truth is in large doses they can also be extremely dangerous, especially when mixed with other substances.
And in recent times, deaths from prescription drugs overdoses have rapidly outpaced fatalities due to heroin and even car accidents in some states. However, the Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Database is now a strong resource the medical community has to thwart prescription drug addiction.