The premature deaths from opioid-related issues across various demographics in the United States is posing an enormous health as well as economic burden on the nation. According to a recent study published online, opioid overdose has become the leading cause of mortality across the U.S. with a 345 percent increase in opioid-related deaths from 2001 to 2016..
As part of its fight against opioid epidemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been taking a plethora of steps to detect, treat and prevent addiction, treat pain and address diversion. As part of the efforts, the FDA has planned to use proactive measures to detect the next wave of drug abuse. The new strategy would allow the federal agency to govern the shifting trends in drug abuse and act upon the unexpected consequences. In an effort to understand the changing drug use patterns, the FDA plans to use a multicomponent system of pharmacovigilance (PV). The new methods would focus on early intervention and help in taking effective steps to deal with the issue right at its stages of inception..
Proactive measures to detect harmful emerging drug use trends
The proactive measures that the agency plans to employ include a “listening platform” on social media that monitors the opioid conversation on websites and online forums. This will also enable the agency to intervene and take appropriate steps to safeguard the public from associated risks. The agency would also explore existing healthcare database to examine the use of gabapentinoids with other central nervous system depressants, including opioids. Monitoring drug-related talks on social media would allow the agency to conduct more specific searches in forums related to drug abuse and misuse.
Although the FDA has been vehemently trying to combat the opioid crisis, other measures like including developing alternatives for pain relief, encouraging doctors to prescribe less opioids and reducing excess amount of opioids in circulation could effectively shift users toward opioid substitutes. Some of the substances being closely watched by the agency include drugs with potential lethal opioid effects or those found to have unrecognized opioids such as gabapentinoids, loperamide, benzodiazepines and kratom. An increase in the instances of their misuse has turned the FDA’s attention toward these drugs. In a letter published recently, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, and other officials Janet Woodcock and Douglas C. Throckmorton warned that any critical actions taken to reduce the present prescription opioid abuse and overdose could have unintended consequences, such as provoking patients to turn to alternative drugs, thereby starting a new trend of drug abuse. The recent move by the FDA is to identify the emerging trends in substance abuse and protect the public from its dangerous consequences.
Treating opioid addiction
Opioid addiction can be treated with a comprehensive program involving supervised detox, followed by behavioral and alternative therapies. One of the evidence-based methodologies effective in treating opioid addiction is medication-assisted treatment (MAT) that involves the use of medications along with counseling and behavioral therapies. Irrespective of the methods used, the goal of opioid addiction treatment is to reduce cravings and prevent a relapse.
At Sovereign Health of Florida, we understand the effect of addictive opioids, and therefore, provide a customized treatment approach designed to cater to each patient’s psychological and pharmacological needs. In addition to the traditional clinical-based approaches used in the treatment for opioid addiction, our services also include behavioral and experiential therapies. For more information on our specialized treatment programs or to locate our opioid rehab centers, call us at our 24/7 helpline number or chat live online with a member of our team.
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