Doctors Call for an End to Long-Term Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers
In response to the growing problem of prescription painkiller abuse in the U.S., three California doctors are calling on their colleagues to rethink the use of narcotic prescription drugs as medication for patients who experience chronic pain. In the U.S., opioid painkillers including OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin are now prescribed more than any other drugs. According to the doctors, up to 20% of patient visits to physicians result in a prescription for one of these opioid drugs.
Dr. Deborah Grady, Dr. Seth Berkowitz and Dr. Mitchell Katz have published their plea as an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The doctors state that 20-40% of adults report non-cancer chronic pain and that opioids have become the most common form of treatment even though few studies are available that examine the use of these drugs for the long-term treatment of …
Alarming Rise in Prescription Drug Overdoses
The U.S. is currently facing an epidemic of deaths caused by accidental drug overdoses. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 75 people die every day from drug overdoses. More than 90% of all poisoning deaths are attributed to unintentional drug overdoses that occur during drug abuse and due to taking too much of a prescribed medication.
The number of deaths from drug overdoses more than doubled between 1999 and 2007, from about 12,000 to more than 28,000 per year. In 2007, fatal drug overdoses were second only to motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the general population. For those aged 35 to 54, they caused more deaths than car accidents.
Most of these deaths are caused by opioid pain medications (oxycodone, methadone and hydrocodone), followed by cocaine and …
Glen Alexander – A Life Ended Too Soon Part III
Read Part I of Glen Alexander’s Story
Read Part II of Glen Alexander’s Story
“When I Found Him”
It was about 6:30 AM. I was so glad Glen had stopped moaning and hoped he was feeling better. I picked up his glass and mug that he had kicked over and brought them to the kitchen. I went back in his room to check on him. I noticed he had removed all his clothing and was now laying sideways, on his stomach, across his bed. When I came in this time, I looked at his back and realized he was not breathing. I stood there paralyzed thinking, Oh God please no, please no! Please say it isn’t true. I finally reached out and touch him and he was already cold and hard to the touch. I flipped out and ran to …
Promising Canadian Legislation to Limit OxyContin Prescriptions
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the Canadian Province of Manitoba is implementing legislation that restricts the prescribing of OxyContin to cancer patients or those who are not eligible for a substitute drug.
Of course, the new restrictions come as a result of the rampant phenomenon of opiate addiction that has plagued North America in recent years. The Manitoba health care system cannot handle the surge in addicted patients requiring methadone treatment and the instances of heroin overdose are rising.
The reality of addiction to narcotic medications is that people who have become physically and mentally dependent on a drug like OxyContin will more likely seek out an alternative drug (like illicit heroin) than treatment. Still, the legislation that reduces OxyContin prescriptions will undoubtedly cause a reduction in opiate addiction and overdose in the long run.…