With more now addicted to prescriptions than heroin and cocaine combined the term “doctor shopping” has become incredibly common. Now a new article from the Huffington Post suggests that the U.S. is finally cracking down on the practice through a prescription drug monitoring database which can help to track multiple or fraudulent prescriptions.
For anyone who doesn’t know, doctor shopping is the exercise of visiting multiple doctors, complaining of certain symptoms to get specific prescriptions or going into a doctor’s office and asking for the drugs by name.
Most doctors have been trained on and warned of the practice so they can spot it internally. The implementation of the prescription drug database is used so that those visiting multiple doctors and asking for the same prescription can be tracked down.
Another type of doctor shopping is when prescription abusers will visit “pill mills” that sale painkillers for cash and employ doctors that write fraudulent prescriptions. The new database will also help to catch this process and enforce punishment on the doctors taking part in it.
Right now the prescription drug database is being used in 43 states. Another 5 states are currently passing laws to start using them. Only two states do not have laws in process but are likely to do so with pressure from the rest of the country.
Based on this the problem seems to be solved but there is one small issue that is left out. It is the fact that prescription drug abuse abetted by family and friends is the number one way that users are getting these types of drugs.
Family Members And Friends Abet Prescription Abuse
According to reports from the National Institute on Drug Abuse teens are some of the number one users of prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. They are one of the largest groups to be hit by the drug problem and have suffered injuries and deaths because of this.
The number one way a teen gets a hold of prescription are from friends or family members. This can happen in a number of ways including:
• A teen taking a prescription drug from a loved one’s medicine cabinet that is open and unmonitored.
• A teen taking a prescription drug from anywhere in the home that it is left unmonitored and not locked up.
• A relative or friend offering a teen or young adult a prescription when they complain of a headache or other pain or problem.
• A relative or friend giving another unused bottle of prescriptions because they complain of some illness or injury.
• A parent or family member taking a teen to get a prescription for an addictive prescription with even the slightest possible suspicion that the teen may not require the drug to survive.
The most common prescription drugs that teens and adults are abusing fall into three general categories. Opiate painkillers are the number one area of abuse and are used non-medically by 7 million people in the country. These include drugs like Vicoden, Oxy Contin and oxycodone. Depressant drugs are the second type of abused substances and include drugs like sleeping pills, Xanax and Valium. Lastly prescription stimulants are also a problem with both teens and adults. The most commonly abuse prescription stimulants are Adderall and Ritalin.
What To Do
One option for someone already addicted to prescription drugs is drug rehab meetings or NA. But, by far if someone is struggling with a problem they need long term residential treatment.
Another option other than drug rehab meetings and residential treatment is to education family members and loved ones to keep their valid prescriptions locked up and not ever give out a prescription drug to someone. This along with the current enforcement efforts with the prescription drug database can help to make the problem not so bad.
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