Prescribers have responsibility in combating drug abuse

There’s no longer room for debate, as prescription drug abuse is a huge problem in our country, including here in Barren County.

It’s an issue that’s not confined to a specific socioeconomic class, as prescription drug abuse has ruined the lives of the rich and poor while extracting sizable fiscal costs in terms of public safety and treatment expenses.

We can ask the users to quit, but that’s not enough. Anyone who has been around a person addicted to pills knows that they are essentially talking to a brick wall when pleading for them to stop using the drugs.

Arresting people isn’t really relieving the tidal wave of problems either. Addiction is too powerful to break with punishment alone.

Though we may not realize it, we all have some responsibility in combating drug abuse.

Parents must be mindful of where they store prescription drugs to ensure their kids don’t steal their pills. Peers must be unafraid to confront their friends when they notice them abusing prescription pills. People, in general, need to realize the problems are real and be less judgmental when considering the addicted and their families.

But when dealing with pretty much every other drug epidemic in the history of our country, authorities have usually targeted the source of the narcotics.

Sure, street-level dealers should be prosecuted for their crimes, but when it comes to prescription drugs, pharmaceutical companies and the medical community have a tremendous amount of responsibility in this issue.

A report released in October by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested a “potential need for improved prescribing practices” based on the amount of opiate prescriptions issued in an eight-state area.

Another CDC study cited that “an increase in painkiller prescribing is a key driver of the increase in prescription overdoses.”

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the prescription drug industry is a profitable endeavor in the U.S. And in order for it to remain a money-maker, the industry needs clients.

But can we conscientiously allow any industry to operate without an overhaul of its regulations when that business is offering a product that’s destroying thousands of families throughout the nation?

We encourage local, state and federal lawmakers to consider stricter laws and rules regarding prescription drugs. The users should be held accountable, but so should those who prescribe these drugs without considering abuse and addiction.

Furthermore, more studies need to be administered in the medical community regarding such drugs and the amount of pills that are prescribed to patients. How many pills are really enough, and who legitimately needs them?

Sure, the baby shouldn’t be thrown out with the bath water. There are people who are in serious pain or suffer from anxiety or other issues and need prescription drugs. But there are others who could do just fine with an over the counter pain-reliever as opposed to a month’s supply of a powerful drug.

This problem is not going away, so it’s time to take a new approach.

The Glasgow Daily Times

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