Doctors Must Carefully Evaluate Opioid Prescriptions
Posted On May 13, 2016
What Does Prescription Opioid Overdose Look Like? Dr Sanjay Gupta Describes it Like This
| An opiate abuser is characteristically “nodding out” and often scratching their itchy skin. While their face is becoming pale and clammy, their fingernails and lips are starting to turn blue or even a sickly purplish-black. When the choking noises — or the deep snore gurgling sounds, known as the death rattle — begins, it’s time to act — and fast. That is a pretty clear sign the opiates have just turned off the person’s drive to breathe and they are in the throes of an overdose.
It is an awful sight, and yet someone in this country dies like this every 19 minutes. There is no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently. The majority of those deaths result from prescription opioid medications; such as hydrocodone, OxyContin and Percocet.
What can be done about prescription opioid addiction?
How can the growing number of needless opioid overdose deaths be reigned in? From the Department of Health and Human Services, HHS.gov, Health Professionals Resources, Opioids.
Prescribing guidelines for opioids need to be improved, opioid addiction treatment options must be expanded, and access to illegal opioids must be reduced.
Congress Likely to Pass a Multitude of Bills Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
On May 13, 2016, following calls from almost every sector of society (including the Obama administration), House Republicans are scheduled to vote on 18 bills this week that will address the mounting opioid addiction epidemic facing the country. These bills are expected to receive almost unanimous bipartisan support. (Three already passed this Tuesday with just one dissenting vote.)
The proposed bills will address several crucial facets of this national problem. Some of these will include:
Measures that will make it easier for doctors to treat patients addicted to opioids.
Greater authority among law enforcement officers to obtain interdicts for drug trafficking.
More protection for veterans and children affected by the epidemic.
Federal government-led studies to evaluate the state’s capacity for treating opioid addiction, which will include an assessment of Good Samaritan laws often used to shield criminal or civil liability health care providers and law enforcement officials who treat opioid addicts with “overdose reversal” drugs.
The introduction of expert advisory committees to oversee the approval of opioid products and drug labels as well as expansion of residential treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum opioid addicts.
In 2014, reports RollCall, 28,647 Americans died from opioid-related complications. The following year in Maine alone, the state reported 272 opioid overdose deaths.
But despite these figures, in recent years the number of opioid prescriptions has continued to rise unchecked. Thankfully this may change after this week’s vote.
Dr Sanjay Gupta Calls for Action to be Taken by all Doctors
“As policymakers begin to catch on, rules and regulations will start to change. As part of a discussion I moderated with President Obama last month, we learned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending against doctors prescribing opioids for most chronic pain situations. When a prescription is written, it should be for the lowest effective dose and the shortest amount of time: usually just a few days.”
It is possible that once these new bills are implemented the number of overdose deaths will stop growing or even decrease. These 18 bills certainly seem to steps in the right direction and hopefully combined with growing awareness in the medical community will lead to brighter future for doctors and patients everywhere.
The increase in overdose from prescription opioids has more than tripled over the past 20 years.
The irony is that while opioid painkillers are prescribed to treat pain, the long-term effect of using these painkillers is that pain symptoms actually get worse! It is an insidious cycle – opioids are taken to reduce pain, but pain symptoms actually increase requiring larger doses of painkillers.
Addiction to prescription painkillers, as far as the brain is concerned, is no different than addiction to heroin. But those who are addicted to prescription painkillers do not see themselves as be the same as heroin addicts.
Without any insight into their addiction, these individuals are not easily convinced they have a drug addiction. Which makes getting them into addiction treatment a challenge.
Looking at the family, financial, career and legal problems of a prescription painkiller addiction, it mirrors those of any other alcoholic and/or drug addict. Family relationships are strained, finances become unmanageable, work performance suffers and legal problems arise. The result is that life spins slowly out of control until there is little left of the life prior to the accident or surgery for which the opioids were originally prescribed.
At Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, we treat opioid painkiller addiction on two fronts: addiction and chronic pain. Our physician is board certified in pain and addiction medicine.
This means we are able to treat both addiction, as well as chronic pain symptoms. Our program requires a 12-week residential stay that may be covered by medical insurance plans. We also work with workers compensation companies for those whose injury was work related.
Arrowhead Lodge Recovery is a small, private addiction, co-occurring disorder and trauma treatment program for men 30 and older; located in the beautiful mountains of Prescott, Arizona.
Arrowhead Lodge Recovery is owned and operated by Kenneth Chance, D. Div, who designed Arrowhead Lodge to offer older men the clinical effectiveness, safety and comfort of a gender and age-specific treatment environment. Arrowhead Lodge Recovery employs a highly experienced and licensed team consisting of a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, registered nurse, licensed therapists, and nutritionist.
The experienced and accredited Arrowhead LodgeTeam allows us to help men for whom previous treatment attempts may have failed. Thorough medical, psycho-social, addiction and trauma assessments inform medical interventions, medication management needs, and the team’s individual approach to treating addiction and trauma in each client. Arrowhead Lodge Recovery also believes strongly in the power of spirituality in the healing process and helps its clients discover a path to living a more authentic life.
Questions? Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Has Answers
Call our admissions counselor now at 1-888-654-2800 for a confidential assessment to see if our prescription painkiller addiction recovery program will help you return to a meaningful and fulfilling life.