If you know someone who has fallen into addiction from a habit-forming medication, you have probably asked the question, “why aren’t doctors more responsible when prescribing?” it’s a fair question because, for many people, a doctor or prescription is the only way to access these drugs. And even with this prescription barrier, opioids are one of the most frequently used drugs in the United States.
The opioid epidemic is hitting hard, and it’s heading in communities or doctors are often overrun and working only on state funding. On one side, it seems that doctors are handing out prescriptions in order to turn patients away rather than giving them the care they need. On the other side, many doctors report that they are concerned with the high prescription volume of habit-forming medication but can’t see any other alternative. If you or someone you know is battling addiction, you should get in touch with our Carolina rehab experts right away.
Overprescribing Medications – Specifically Opioids
Overprescribing medications is a frequent situation in that doctors would rather a patient have access to pain medication than complain that there isn’t access available. The trouble is that most doctors miss stereotypical drug-seeking behavior. They will undergo surgeries that may not have been absolutely necessary or provide a prescription for stronger medication when a patient says that one isn’t working.
The result of overprescribing is that even people who use the medication as directed will have extra pills left over. Those extra pills can lead to giving them to friends, family, or abusing them for recreational use. Prescription medication is not something that anyone should ever have “extras” in their medicine cabinet.
Can Doctors Write Prescriptions for More than the Guidelines?
Doctors can write prescriptions for more than the general guidelines suggest, and that is because they are only suggestions. A particular authority restricting the volume of a pain medication prescription might be a good idea, but to this point, it hasn’t been effective.
Some doctors, particularly surgeons, will frequently prescribe opioid medication, suggesting that the patient takes two or more per day as needed. That “as needed” note on the medication against a lot of patients, the idea is that anytime they experience a twinge or a touch of pain, they should take another pill. This often leads to abuse and misuse of prescription opioids and often leads to addiction.
Doctors Can Control Prescription Volume But Not Abuse
In 2016 there were about 16,000 people who died from a non-medical abuse of prescription opioids. Of course, there are serious questions that come from a statistic like that. How are prescription medications hitting the streets? How are people without a prescription accessing and these medications? Are people with a prescription selling their medication?
At some point, this does have to go back to the pharmacist and the doctors who have control over access to this medication. If opioids are truly beneficial to the medical community, then it is their responsibility to control the flow of those products. Because that’s what they’ve become. No longer are they medications to help someone recover from an accident or injury, now they are the most sought after drug in the United States.
Should Pharmacies Step In?
Pharmacies are the middleman between patients and doctors for accessing prescription medication. In theory, they should stand to serve as a stopping point where pharmacists can identify misuse, abuse, and mistakes in a prescription. Recently pharmacies are experiencing the same liability claims and lawsuits as doctors when it comes to mishandling or not questioning an opioid prescription.
As of February 2020, there were still open cases against CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart for their pharmacy’s roles in the opioid crisis.
How To Seek Out Your Treatment for an Addiction that Began as a Prescription
Rehabilitation is in a place that you go and sit for a few weeks while you come down from your lowest point in addiction. Rehabilitation is the first step of a lifelong process of sobriety. At Rehab Carolinas, we approached rehabilitation through personalized therapy and individual treatment plans to ensure you have access to the resources and help you need to get sober.
Even call our offices anytime and a range of one-on-one meeting with one of our counselors. You can meet and speak with us about our programs and approaches to sobriety for a personal addiction or for someone in your life who is struggling to become sober. We understand that this addiction started with the medication, and the solution isn’t another medication; it’s a lifestyle change.