Legislators, health care providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers are working together to help curb the national opioid crisis and stop opioid abuse disorder and new addictions before they start. That is the driving force behind Florida Governor Scott’s new agenda, which will limit first-time pain pill prescriptions to no more than a three-day supply.
If you are not involved with battling the opioid addiction crisis at the Florida state or national level, the scope of the problem might seem shocking. In perspective, it is similar to “America enduring another 9-11 attack every two and a half weeks.” That is according to New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, who heads up the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
Governor Scott and PhRMA CEO, Stephen J. Ubl, have both announced their support of limiting opioids for acute pain management. Many people become addicted through overabundant access to legally prescribed opioids, ultimately finding themselves in Florida drug rehab. This new measure could help curb the number of addictions and opioid-related deaths.
Opioid Addictions Often Begin in a Doctor’s Office
Public opinion about opioid addiction is one that is dark, seedy, and dangerous. The news portrays drug deals taking place in alleyways, but ignores one of the most common origins of addiction, a routine doctor visit and a legal prescription for pain medication.
An expert panel from the Department of Health and Human Services testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee earlier this year. It is their consensus that the sharp increase in prescribing opioids during the 1990s led, at least in part, to the current crisis.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), heroin addicts in America are much more likely to have been introduced to opioids through prescription drugs. Increased drug tolerance, access to excess medication after an acute condition is over, and access to another person’s medication all lead to the same result, namely, addiction.
Limits on Pain Pill Prescriptions Could Prevent Millions of New Addictions
Although some people with chronic conditions may need ongoing opioids for severe pain management, a 30-day prescription for an acute condition is likely too much. It leaves the patient with excess medication, which can be abused, and it can also put the extra pills into the hands of people for whom it was not prescribed. Florida Governor Scott believes that regulating first-time pain pill prescriptions to three days would be an important step in curbing the addiction crisis.
Patients need more education on the causes of addiction and the risks associated with using more opioids than necessary to manage pain. Somewhat surprisingly, doctors apparently need more education as well.
Ubl explains that “appropriate script limits, when combined with improved prescriber education and better coverage of treatment alternatives, can help ensure proper prescribing and reduce the risk of abuse.” Ubl and Governor Scott are on the same page about limiting access to pain pills for acute pain management, but they are not necessarily working together. Their recent, independent announcements about limiting pain pill access show the growing trend. Prescribers should be more responsible for their part in opioid addictions.
At no other time has America needed more research into non-addictive pain management medications and therapies. So many people in Florida die from an opioid overdose, the average life expectancy is on the decline. Addiction can happen in every type of family, regardless of income, social standing, and level of education. Lawyers and police officers become addicted. So do doctors and nurses.
NIH Director, Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., explained to the President’s Commission that addressing the opioid crisis is “one of the FDA’s highest public health priorities.” He went on to explain that the “development of an effective, non-addictive medication to replace opioids” would help people living with chronic pain and help prevent millions of addictions from developing.
The outdated practice of overprescribing opioids for chronic and acute pain sufferers has partly created the opioid crisis in Florida, America, and around the world. The good news is that there is help for people suffering from addiction. Florida drug rehab offers a host of programs and individual therapies that help get you safely through detoxification, into treatment, and into a lifetime of recovery.
If you or any of your loved ones are suffering from an opioid addiction, help is standing by. Contact us to learn about the treatment options available today.