Doctor's Group Advocates Tighter Control on Prescribing Trends

Doctor table with drugs.

It is long past due that we all got brutally honest with ourselves and with each other about the direction prescription drug abuse is headed in this country. Drug and alcohol addiction as an overall problem has absolutely escalated out of control in the last fifteen years, but at the forefront of all of that, leading the way has been prescription drug abuse.

Prior to the turn of the century, prescription drug prescribing tends were not so rampant. Opioid pharmaceuticals had not yet been offered as a blanket solution for resolving pain. But by the turn of the century, pharmaceutical giants were offering opioid painkillers as “miracle solutions” that had “No chance for abuse.”

Fast forward almost twenty years, and the number of addicts in the U.S. has increased by more than five-hundred percent, opioid prescribing trends have increased by more than four-hundred percent, and more than six-hundred and thirty-thousand Americans have died from drug overdoses. It’s a tragedy, and it was mostly brought on by legal pharmaceuticals.

Doctors Say Enough is Enough

The words of this text were not meant to be a lecture or a stern sermon of anti-drug dogma. This is not a grim and unpleasant news clipping. We need to write for change, to encourage a better future, and to brainstorm better ways to tackle a drug problem in such a way to really resolve it.

Even doctors, the very individuals who have participated for so long in overprescribing, seem to have had enough with the morass of substance abuse that has all come from pharmaceutical drugs. Doctors have formed coalitions and interest groups to push for reform in the American Medical Administration, the governing institution that all doctors must answer too, and the institution that got doctors prescribing these drugs in the first place.

The American College of Physicians says it will make changes, changes for the better in really cracking down on current overprescribing trends that have become so commonplace amongst so many doctors. The ACP drafted a ten-point mandate to utilize in creating real change amongst medical practices across the nation.

Some of the points the American College of Physicians seeks to introduce are things like:

  • Evidence-based guidelines for doctors that show exactly what happens when doctors prescribe painkillers in the manner they have been following for so long.
  • An insistence that all doctor offices utilize prescription drug monitoring programs to ensure that patients in their offices are not simply doctor shopping.
  • CDC-approved prescribing guidelines to show just how limited opioid prescribing actually should be.

This is just a glimpse at what the ACP plans to put together in creating real reform in the medical community.

The Opposition is Flawed

The American Medical Administration often seems to deter and slow potential growth and real change for the better in the medical community, at least when it comes to reducing current prescribing trends for painkiller drugs. When questioned about the value of prescription drug monitoring programs (the greatest technological boom of the 21st-century in fighting opioid diversion), American Medical Association President Dr. Steven Sacks said:

“The databases are slow and difficult to use and may cause patients to face longer waits and have less time with their doctor…”
“The databases are slow and difficult to use and may cause patients to face longer waits and have less time with their doctor. There really is a patient safety and quality-of-care cost when you mandate the use of tools that are not easy to use.”

This response is absolutely ludicrous. Yes, making patients wait a little bit longer may be an annoyance, but isn’t it the lesser of two evils when doing so means preventing doctor shopping?

The opposition to a forward progress in reducing overprescribing and doctor shopping is flawed on every front, and thousands of doctors across the country are beginning to see that. It’s time for a new approach, an approach that involves less addictive pharmaceuticals.


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AUTHOR

Ren

After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.

NARCONON SOUTH TEXAS

DRUG EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION