Statistics about the ever-growing problem of prescription opioid abuse indicate how people in the United States have been misusing painkillers to feed their addiction, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths over a decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 66 percent of drug overdose deaths involve an opioid. Various studies also paint a grim picture of the aggravating opioid crisis across the nation that is compelling several hospitals to look for other options of treating pain.
Health care organizations in some states are now making efforts to reduce their opioid prescriptions. A classic example is that of Geisinger, an organization involved in treating patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which has managed to lower their prescriptions by over 50 percent in the last few years. In 2012, authorities at Geisinger discovered that their patients were dissatisfied with the manner in which their pain was being treated. An assessment of the electronic database highlighted how in some instances physicians were prescribing opioids in quantities greater than what was required by the patients. Ironically, intake of more opioid medications than necessary can worsen pain.
Several Geisinger pharmacists worked in conjunction with physicians to find better ways of treating pain. For example, patients afflicted with lower back pain felt more relieved when treated with physical therapy instead of opioids. In certain cases, when doctors realized that pain relievers were necessary, they looked for other medications prior to advising opioids. In most cases, patients did not need opioids at all and were more at ease with other treatment options.
Other hospitals also followed suit, hoping that their decision to cut back on prescriptions would help the country combat the opioid epidemic. As many as 10 hospitals in Colorado cut down opioid use in emergency rooms by 36 percent using the same techniques. Cara Welch, director of communications for the Colorado Hospital Association, said all hospitals in Colorado plan to implement this technique by the end of the year.
Bill introduced to promote opioid alternatives
St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey, coined the idea of using alternatives to opioids. In March 2018, U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey introduced a legislation to provide grants to hospitals that are ready to implement similar programs. Dr. Stefan Kertesz of the University of Alabama at Birmingham said that prescribing lesser opioid medications is a worthy goal.
Prescribing low amount of opioids to people who can be treated without painkillers is the first step toward an opioid-free American society. However, for the dream of living in a society where people do not suffer from opioid addiction, it is imperative to train more psychologists, nurses and health professionals who can treat patients using alternative therapies, rather than prescribing addictive opioid painkillers. Experts feel that some health conditions respond to physical therapies better than medicines.
Seeking treatment for opioid addiction
Prescription opioids are widely abused as they are highly addictive. Opioid painkillers like Vicodin, or oxycodone (OxyContin) are among the most commonly misused prescription drugs. Most patients become dependent on opioid drugs and get addicted to them over time. However, opioid addiction can be treated with timely professional help.
The first step to treat opioid addiction is oxycodone detox. If you or a loved one is grappling with addiction to oxycodone, contact Sovereign Health of Florida that provides evidence-based OxyContin detox treatment to help patients recover fast. For more information about our oxycodone addiction rehab centers, call our 24/7 helpline or chat with our online representative.
Sovereign Health Group is a leading addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment provider. Call our admissions team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the help you deserve.