Prescription drug monitoring programs remain largely underused: Study

Prescription drug monitoring programs remain largely underused: Study

Misuse of prescription pain relievers is a major health concern in the United States. Looking at the increasing number of people growing prescription painkiller dependence, the American government has implemented necessary guidelines to contain the opioid epidemic. Though the intent to curb the growing opioid scourge remains consistent, the fact that a majority of these preventive measures remains underutilized is a growing concern among those at the federal level.

A recent study, titled “Programs to thwart prescription drug misuse exist, not always used,” found that many states in America had prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in place which can help pinpoint at potential cases of misuse of prescription opioids. This, in turn, can help the patients concerned get the much needed addiction treatment. While state-based PDMPs were found to be in place in accordance with the recommendations of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), it was also observed that many of them remained underused.

The findings were obtained after scientists observed that though Maine has in place a PDMP since it was first launched in 2004, of a total of 275 pharmacists, only 56 percent had used it. These findings are pursuant to observations made by the scientists in 2014 while carrying out the study.

Stressing on the findings, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs in July 2016, the scientists said that it was also important for pharmacists to use the PDMP system like other doctors and health care practitioners. Elucidating the same, one of the co-authors of the study Stephanie Nichols from the Husson University School of Pharmacy, in Bangor, Maine said, “Often, the pharmacist is the last line of defense for patient safety.”

Rise in buprenorphine prescription shows positive trend

The researchers found that prescription painkillers were recommended to 22 percent of the Maine population in 2014. It was also observed that the number of analgesics to every person was enough to sustain them with a constant supply that would last for 16 days. Though the extent of prescription is lower than what was observed in 2010, the scientists described it as a very large number.

The scientists also emphasized that though prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone were reduced in 2014, there was a sharp rise in the prescription of buprenorphine. Though buprenorphine is an opioid, it is mostly used to treat opioid addiction, which must be considered a positive trend in the number of people seeking treatment for their opioid dependence.

Recovery road map

Drug addiction is rampant in certain in American society and some people continue to be addicted to some substance or the other. But among all drugs that are highly abused and that lead to addiction, misuse of prescription drugs remains a major challenge. The drug once touted as a miracle for treatment of all kinds of pain is increasingly being misused by many Americans. Apart from this, doctors advising high quantities of pain relievers to treat pain is a major cause of concern with federal agencies implementing guidelines to limit opioid prescription in various states.

According to a study, published in the Medical Care in October 2016, prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence “carries high costs for American society, with an estimated total economic burden of $78.5 billion.”

If you or your loved one is hooked on opioids and is looking for help, get in touch with the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline of California for information on various prescription drug rehabs in California. One should not delay for the treatment or the situation might worsen. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-738-2770 or chat online for expert advice on available prescription drug addiction treatment in California.