The White House Plan for Opiate Addiction

President Obama has explained how he wants to make a dent in the amount of prescription drug abuse in our country recently. In order to lower the amount of people addicted to drugs like Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet and heroin, the Administration has three main issues that it wants to address.

One of the areas is to repordedly put a greater focus on prescription monitoring drug tools. He wants to put more money towards improving and adding additional drug treatment programs around the country and he wants to explore making drugs like naloxone more available throughout the country to first responders and families with heroin addicts.

Prescription monitoring tools are essential to thwarting an addict’s attempt at obtaining medications illegally. These programs allow doctors, pharmacists and law enforcement to keep a better eye on painkiller prescriptions. For those with access to the program, they can see who is prescribed what, by whom and where they are filling their prescriptions. They also allow doctors to see if their patient has recently been to another doctor and obtained a prescription for opiates. Oftentimes, in order to evade suspicion, addicts will fill their prescriptions at different pharmacies. This tool would allow pharmacists to see if the person had recently filled the same prescription somewhere else. Many states have invested money in instituting a prescription monitoring program, however not everyone uses the tool, which essentially renders it ineffective. Obama wants to put more of a focus on getting these programs running and actually used everywhere.

More than $100 million in additional funding is being requested to fighting the drug abuse problem. Part of that money would be given to rehabilitation centers and states that need to establish more treatment beds. Many addicts have a difficult time enrolling in treatment because of the long wait lists at publicly-supported rehabilitation facilities. Creating more beds would allow greater access to treatment for people in need of help.

Naloxone is a drug that, when administered, reverses the effects of an opiate overdose. Currently some states have allowed their law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel to carry around prescriptions of the drug to administer if they are first on the scene of an overdose. Obama wants to explore this further and potentially make carrying naloxone a national thing, rather than just a few states.