Express Scripts, one of the nation’s leading pharmaceutical prescription drug providers to consumers, recently reported that about 40 percent of the narcotic prescriptions in circulation are written by only 5 percent of doctors who prescribe these kinds of drugs. This means that these doctors are writing 3.5 times as many prescriptions for addictive painkillers than their peers: 4.6 prescriptions per patient as compared to about 1.3.
Glen Stettin, MD, is the Senior Vice President of Clinical, Research & New Solutions at Express Scripts. He said: “While narcotics provide needed pain relief to many patients, high prescribing patterns are a potential area of concern. The findings of this study could indicate the need for better education about prescribing guidelines or tighter controls on narcotic prescribing.”
Family practice doctors and internal medicine physicians were the most likely to be among the high-prescribing physicians. These are numbers that highlight the value of specialized medicine. Pain management specialists may be better able to determine who is in real need of painkillers and control those prescriptions more carefully to better protect patients from overdose and addiction.
Said Dr. Stettin: “The rise in opioid abuse-related deaths has coincided with increased prescribing of narcotics.”
Protecting Yourself From the Risk of Prescription Drug Abuse
Not everyone who is handed a prescription for a pain reliever like OxyContin or Percocet will inevitably develop a drug addiction as a result or die of an overdose. In fact, most patients won’t have any problems taking the medication and will be able to stop without incident when they no longer need the drugs.
However, a percentage of people will develop a drug dependence that they never would have had if not for the prescription given to them by their doctor. There are a number of ways that this can happen:
- Patients may not follow their dosing schedule closely and inadvertently take too much or take doses too close together and thus overload their system.
- Patients may drink alcohol while taking their prescription, not realizing that the two together can amplify the effects of both.
- Patients may take other drugs, including other medications like anti-anxiety medications or sedatives, and not realize that the two will negatively interact.
- Patients may experiment with the pills – for example, crushing them before snorting or swallowing them.
Prescription Drug Rehab
For some patients, simply stepping down their dose or stopping use of the medication with a doctor’s supervision is enough to stop the damage. For others, when a full-blown addiction is in evidence, a more intensive treatment is necessary.
Contact us at Axis today to learn more about our evidence based rehab program and how we can help you heal.