Friday, July 1, 2011
With the growing number of prescription drug abuse related suicides the Federal government is saying, enough is enough. The fact of the matter is that many doctors prescribing potential lethal drugs do not fully grasp what is going on with their patients and are unable to identify signs of addiction. As one might imagine, there are many doctors who prescribed drugs that people overdosed on and never had a clue that their patient was an addict. Nearly 30,000 Americans overdosed last year, half of all those overdoses were the result of legal prescription drugs. Health care professionals need to be better educated on this subject so that they will have a shot at realizing that a particular patient is in trouble and shouldn't be prescribed narcotics.
This week more than 125 physicians went to Capitol Hill to demand that the government act on this growing problem. "In most cases, doctors contribute innocently because they haven't been trained properly on how to prescribe in a responsible way, how to identify a drug addict and help them," said Dr. David Kloth, a pain management physician from Connecticut and spokesman for the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. According to Kloth, 80 to 90 percent of physicians in the United States have no training whatsoever when it comes to chemical dependence.
Doctors from ASIPP and the North American Neuromodulation Society, which are two leading associations for pain physicians would like lawmakers to support a bill by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., requiring all physicians to participate in prescription drug abuse training and to register with the Drug Enforcement Administration before prescribing certain medications. A mandate like this, aided by electronic prescription records to make sure doctor shopping and pill farms do not operate, is a step in the right direction when it comes to saving lives.