Tag Archives: narcotic painkillers

Should Doctors Receive Mandatory Education on Painkiller Prescribing Practices?

docsSeveral years ago our culture did not rely as heavily on prescription narcotics to manage chronic pain. In fact, if someone suffered from even moderate pain, many doctors sought other ways to address the problems and only resorted to painkillers if lesser treatments didn’t work.

This all changed when the pharmaceutical companies developed drugs like Oxycontin. Sales representatives visited doctors and assured them that prescribing painkillers was the more humane option to deal with chronic pain issues. Doctors were encouraged to write more prescriptions for opioid narcotics, and soon millions more people were abusing the drugs. According to multiple lawsuits, the threat of addiction was severely downplayed by the pharmaceutical companies.

The more recent trend towards prescribing more narcotic painkillers changed society in that people had access to these drugs like they never had before. These opiates are very similar to heroin, in that they provide the same euphoric feeling, they interact with the brain in the same way heroin does and they have similar withdrawal symptoms. Perhaps physicians would not have been so quick to write so many prescriptions had they known what kind of epidemic would begin. The DEA has set up their own physician training system that some say should be mandatory for all doctors.

Prescription drug abuse continues to invade towns throughout the country. In fact, almost 15,000 people die every year from prescription drug overdoses. In addition to the increased efforts to remove excess prescription drugs from the street through take back efforts, educating physicians on better prescribing practices would be a good idea along with holding pharmaceutical companies responsible for deceptive sales techniques.

While it is important to help those who are suffering from chronic problems and provide them with the best quality of life, there is also a responsibility to the community. Reducing the number of prescription drugs on the street is one way, without of course denying the medications for those who truly need them. Saving lives and preventing addiction are the goals.

Author Traces America’s Painkiller Problems

aworldofhurtAward-winning New York Times writer Barry Meier recently released a new e-book called “A World of Hurt: Fixing Pain Medicine’s Big Mistake.”

Published by the Times and Vook, Meier takes us back to a decade ago where he says drug companies and medical experts launched a “War on Pain” that promoted the liberal use of prescription painkillers for many symptoms and conditions, ranging from moderate to severe.

JoinTogether interviewed the author, who claimed that the introduction of Oxycontin and similar drugs played a large role in the opioid boom as well, which he says “ranks among medicine’s biggest mistakes.” In addition, the author stated that insurance companies also had responsibility in creating the problem by being convinced to pay for prescriptions rather than other forms of treatment, opting for a quick-fix solution that instead just contributed to the mayhem.

However, Meier doesn’t just condemn the over-use of prescription narcotics, he takes the time to introduce different forms of treatment for pain management that many experts feel benefit patients’ health as well as the general public.

While we’re not commenting on the merit of the book one way or the other, it is worth examining the problems in different ways to find multiple solutions. As we’ve documented on this blog, prescription painkiller abuse has clearly become an epidemic and tens of thousands of lives have been unnecessarily lost.

We would love to hear some of your comments on our Facebook page, and of course if you have a loved one struggling with a substance abuse issue, contact us for more information on effective treatments.