Government officials and healthcare experts all over the United States are yearning to find a solution to the opioid epidemic; safe injection sites are being considered to give those using drugs a safe place to use them while also receiving care and education on drug rehabilitation programs. Systems are being set in place to further guard individuals who attempt to “doctor shop” by collecting the same prescription from several different places, and anti-addiction medications are in the works to help people manage their pain without becoming hooked. A new solution is being proposed by health experts, and this is what they are saying:
According to the Los Angeles Times, health experts are suggesting that doctors prescribe their patients with higher doses of painkillers and reducing the number of refills allowed. Although this may seem counterintuitive, the belief is that providing patients with the amount needed to relieve their pain right away may stop patients before getting to addiction. A study published this year found that
“For every additional week a patient takes drugs like oxycodone or hydrocodone, the chance that he or she will wind up abusing the drug increases by 20%. And every time a prescription for opioid painkillers is refilled, the risk of abuse rises by 44%.
It seems that as patients continue refilling their prescriptions, they are increasing the likelihood of addiction. More questions are beginning to arise surrounding the reasons for why patients are struggling with painkillers, and the opioid epidemic has challenged this scenario. One theory is that now doctors are under-prescribing patients who truly need larger doses of pain medication; Dr. Howard Fields, professor of neurology at the University of California, stated on WBUR,
“I think if you read the actual epidemiological data and the data from insurance companies and health organizations, it suggests the vast majority of people are undertreated for their pain and I think that’s in part due to the scare of overdosing and having the drugs diverted and making somebody who never was [a person with an addiction] and never had a drug abuse problem into a [person with an addiction].”
Doctors are struggling with finding the right balance due to the opioid epidemic, but hopefully we will see more balance come into play as everyone gets their footing on this issue.
New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment programs. If you or your loved one struggle with opioid addiction and are ready to begin treatment, call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation.