What can I do to prevent patients from abusing painkillers prescribed to them?

Recently, there has been a rise in opioid overdose due to abuse of prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet. In 2012, 259 million prescriptions for these drugs were written in the United States and since 2013 hydrocodone has been prescribed to Medicare patients more than any other drug.

The potential for opioid abuse to lead to heroin addiction caused U.S. Attorneys to form an alliance with the DEA and FBI called the Federal Opioid Reduction Alliance of North Carolina. The Alliance will raise awareness on opioid abuse and prevent patients from becoming addicted and moving to other drugs. The Alliance plans to fight this issue by educating children in school about the risks associated with opiates and develop partnerships with medical professionals who can identify people at risk for abuse. The Alliance also plans to push the legislature for laws and regulations that prevent addiction like: needle exchanges, distribution of Naloxone (an opiate blocker), and regulation of painkiller prescriptions.

Be aware of upcoming changes to opioid regulations in North Carolina and potential partnerships with the newly formed Alliance to prevent abuse before it begins.