Opioids have been prescribed with increasing frequency in the last two decades. This increase has led to an epidemic of drug abuse and a startling number of overdose deaths. A recent study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, suggests that prescription monitoring may be the key to reducing these statistics.
The Opioid Drug Abuse Epidemic
Cases of drug abuse where opioid pain relievers are frequently the substance of choice have risen dramatically in recent decades. In an effort to support a drug abuse habit, many addicts have turned to doctor shopping to get a fix. This process involves seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors, allowing the user to relatively easily obtain the pills necessary to satisfy the cravings of drug abuse.
What Is Prescription Monitoring?
When a state institutes a prescription monitoring system, it tracks who receives prescriptions for certain drugs that are considered to have abuse potential. With prescription monitoring, the state may be able to identify people who are doctor shopping or engaging in other habits that may indicate drug abuse. This suggests that the state or a physician could intervene to prevent a drug overdose death.
The NIDA Study About Prescription Monitoring
NIDA discovered that states that have started a prescription monitoring system are more successful when it comes to preventing overdose deaths. What’s more, states that tracked a greater number of drugs with abuse potential and updated their prescription monitoring database more frequently had even more success. Many of those states were able to reduce the number of drug overdose deaths by 1.12 or 1.55 per 100,000 people.
Drug abuse is rampant in the U.S., and officials are often at a loss when it comes to knowing how to address the issue. This study demonstrates how vital prescription monitoring programs are for saving lives.
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