Opioid abuse is on the rise: Are doctors part of the problem

 

According to data collected in a new study,  one in every four chronic pain patients may be misusing prescription narcotic painkillers.  Approximately one in ten of these patients has fallen into habitual use of such powerful painkillers, having formed an addiction, which has prompted experts to revisit and question whether access to such drugs should be restricted.

The report,  penned by a University of New Mexico research team headed by Kevin Vowles PhD, reads, “On average, misuse was documented in approximately one out of four or five patients, and addiction was found in approximately one out of 10 or 11 patients.”

For study  purposes, the researchers took into account data collection during 38 prior studies into the use and misuse of opioid painkillers. While the addiction rate varies on average between 8 and 12 per cent, the misuse rate was an alarming 21 to 29 per cent.

According to the report, prescription painkillers are being handed out to more patients than ever before with prescription rates having shot up immensely in the past decade. Alongside with the widespread usage of the drugs, addiction and misuse rates likewise fast-track at a disturbing pace.

To help control the illicit misuse  of harmful narcotic painkiller, new rules are being forged by the FDA, which will make it difficult for prescription drugs to be altered with and altered into illegal substances.

FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Douglas Throckmorton said, “This guidance is one of the many activities being done by the FDA to address opioid-related overdose and death. The FDA is focused on the development of opioids with abuse-deterrent formulations,”

“To combat opioid abuse and misuse, FDA is encouraging manufacturers to develop abuse-deterrent drugs that work correctly when taken as prescribed, but are formulated in such a way that someone cannot easily modify them for the purposes of abuse.”

 

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