Prescription drugs like painkillers play a pivotal role in saving and improving lives, but that doesn’t mean that every medicine is safe to use. In fact, prescription drugs are now the leading source of addiction in the United States for its increased accessibility. There has also been a marked rise in the emergency visits and treatment admissions due to the chronic misuse of prescription drugs. In severe cases, it can also lead to overdose and death.
At first, a person takes drugs to assuage pain and find relief from illness. However, these drugs are extremely powerful to change the working of the brain over time and inflict long-lasting changes including addiction. The person loses self-control and may indulge in destructive behavior. The most commonly misused legal drugs are opioid analgesics and psychiatric drugs. From 2007 to 2012, the rate of opioid prescription has gradually increased among specialists in managing acute and chronic pain.
The rate of prescription of opioids is high among the patients of pain surgery, rehabilitation, etc. The people who misuse these drugs alter the route of administration for increasing the psychoactive effects of the drugs. The administration of opioids, both individually and in combination with alcohol or other illicit drugs, may cause confusion, sleepiness and slow breathing. In the worst-case scenario, the abuse of prescription drugs can cause overdose deaths.
Compared to other prescription medicines, psychiatric drugs prescribed by doctors to treat mental illnesses like schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety are misused more by people. Sedatives and hypnotics are the other common drugs abused for experiencing euphoric effects. Though stimulants cause a calming effect and increase energy and alertness level on a temporary basis, they make people dependent on them. The misuse of these stimulants causes various side effects, such as seizures, psychosis, cardiovascular complications, etc. Although around 2 million Americans abuse prescription opioids, only a small section is able to access treatment.
Stakeholders must put the best foot forward to fight opioid crisis
With the declaration of opioid crisis as a public health emergency in the U.S., the need of the hour is to understand its history. Earlier, soldiers struggling with emotional and physical pain used to abuse morphine. They have highlighted the efficacy of opioids in treating both physical and psychic pain experienced due to the deplorable condition of war. The exposure of patients suffering from pain to opioid became more prominent with the establishment of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) pain management standards. Today, it has peaked to its deadliest level.
The clinicians, patients and pharmacists can contribute toward the prevention of the misuse of prescription drugs. Due to the increased awareness about opioid crisis, more than 80 percent of Americans contacted health care professionals to identify the misuse of prescription drugs and take steps for its prevention. By discussing the repercussions of all drugs, clinicians can help patients in identifying the problem, providing appropriate treatment and setting recovery goals.
Some of the vital tools that help to prevent prescription drug abuse are the state-run electronic databases and prescription drug monitoring programs. These tools track the dispensation and prescription of controlled prescription drugs to patients. The patients themselves can prevent the misuse of prescription drugs by following the directions mentioned on the label of the drug. One should take care in storing prescription drugs by safely, to prevent misuse by others.
Furthermore, one should also consider the repercussions of combination of opioids with other drugs or alcohol. Patients must not change or stop the dosing regimen without discussing with their doctor. The pharmacists can help patients to understand instructions for taking their medicines to avoid any mistake. They serve as the first line of defense in identifying the issues in the prescription drug use by monitoring the alterations and falsifications in prescription.
Painkillers are gateways to drug abuse
The main aim is to prescribe the least amount of medicines to prevent the misuse of prescription drugs. Prescription drugs are so addictive that they can affect both professional and personal life of a person. If someone is losing control or cannot stop using drugs, then this problem requires urgent attention.
If you or your loved one is battling drug addiction, it is important to seek help. The Florida Drug Addiction Helpline assists in accessing the finest drug rehabs in Florida that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-982-2401 or chat online to know more about the finest drug rehab center in Florida.