The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
If you take a look at Google News, you’re likely to see a plethora of stories related to the crimes and woes related to prescription drug addiction. It’s a topic that I’ve written on extensively–from illegal pharmaceutical companies pushing drugs to the participation of shipping companies in delivering the drugs to users–it’s definitely a problem. Just the other day, the Internet was buzzing over the coverage of Leah Calvert, the perhaps infamous teen mom from the MTV series “Teen Mom 2”, who revealed her struggles with prescription drugs and their effects. But it isn’t just “famous” folks who are succumbing to powerful prescription drugs: in 2009, prescription drug related deaths overtook all other causes of injury death in the U.S., even car accidents.
Prescription Painkillers Lead the Way in Prescription Drug Related Deaths
It’s typically the powerful prescription painkillers, hydrocodone, oxycodone and methadone responsible for the uptick in prescription drug addictions and related deaths. These drugs, known as opioid painkillers, were prescribed at an astonishing rate in 2012 alone. Centers for Disease Control statistics show that a total of 259 million prescriptions were written that year, which is enough for every American to have a bottle at their disposal. Unfortunately, statistics also show that a small number of providers may be responsible for writing the majority of these prescriptions.
Health and Human Services Holds Meeting to Stem Prescription Drug Addiction Problem
Because the problem of prescription drug addiction is so far-reaching and multiple faceted, nothing but a comprehensive and unilateral approach among federal and state leaders will stop the problem. The Department of Health and Human Services recently held a meeting with state officials from across the country to share best practices and work on ways that state and federal leaders can work together to address the problem. This was the first time that federal and local leaders were able to meet; both set out to come up with provider-centered interventions. Because states have the authority to regulate healthcare practices and monitor prescriptions, it is crucial to implement policies that will aim to provide prescribers with the appropriate knowledge and tools to improve their practice and responsibly prescribe painkillers. Some states, such as Florida have witnessed great success with provider oversight collaboration programs, prescription drug monitoring programs, and prescribing guideline education.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.