The number of drug-related deaths is rising in the United States. Each year, more people are dying from overdoses than car accidents, and more than half of overdoses involve opioids, such as heroin and prescription painkillers.
Addiction has no face; its victims may be your neighbors, your teammates, your friends. Many become addicted from a physician’s prescription; others from one poor choice. Addiction recovery programs are too few and ineffective, while stigmas and pharmaceutical profitability impede reform.
In “Fighting For A Fix,” I tell the stories of seven mothers who lost a son or daughter to this epidemic. These women are crying out for change—to the pharmaceutical industry, to treatment programs and to stigmas. Amid their sadness, hope endures.
A physician’s confidence level when writing a prescription for a patient typically isn’t questioned, but maybe it should be — especially when it comes to practitioners prescribing opioids for chronic pain.
A new report revealed that only 25% of physicians who are certified to prescribe opioids believe they are “very confident” in their skills to manage patients using these drugs. The Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and myCME, Haymarket Medical Education’s global medical education website, released the results of the survey.
Low confidence levels in physicians could be the result of little to no training focusing on safe opioid prescribing and management. Dr. Daniel Alford, director of BUSM’s Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) program, said that this topic isn’t covered much in medical school or residency training.
As deaths involving prescription opioids increase, prescribers look toward other ways to curb patient overdoses. One fairly new solution in the medical community is to prescribe controlled substances electronically, but just how far along is this revolutionary approach, and will it help combat the ever-growing opioid epidemic in the country?
Health information network provider Surescripts on Tuesday released the results of research focusing on health data transactions in 2014. The report, titled the “2014 National Progress Report,” reviewed how prescribing controlled substances electronically could potentially diminish prescription fraud and abuse in the country.