Record numbers of people are falling victim to prescription painkiller addiction. Overdoses from opioids are the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. And many experts agree that something drastic must be done.
In an effort to curb abuse of prescription painkillers, a group of public health officials is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue new guidelines on use.
If the group of 37 doctors and researchers gets its way, it could mean that people with moderate pain would not be able to get a prescription for some narcotic medications such as OxyContin. It would also establish a maximum daily dose and cap the prescription length at 90 days unless they’re being treated for cancer.
Inappropriate Use ff Painkillers (opioids) Addressed by Petitioners
The aggressive marketing of drugs such as OxyContin is behind the move, and officials say the petition is not meant to limit prescribing by doctors. If adopted, companies such as Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, would be prohibited from marketing drugs for off label uses.
Aggressive tactics by drug companies is tied to what officials say is rampant overprescribing by doctors. No surprise in this – there’s money to be made by the companies, and some doctors are rewarded by the pharmaceutical giants for increasing the bottom line.
Think about it – when you’re waiting in the doctor’s office, what do you see when you look around? It seems that everywhere you look is a cleverly placed ad for Big Pharma. Exam table liners, tissues, clocks and equipment are often branded and may have been gifts to the doctor for his or her efforts. Bottom line – pharmaceutical companies are in the business of making money off you.
One Doctor Knows All Too Well The Dangers Patients Face When Taking Opiates
According to Reuters news agency, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, one of the petitioners, said he’s had numerous patients who began prescription painkiller therapy for a legitimate condition but became opiate addicted after staying on them long term.
Kolodny is president of the Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. He said, “We don’t think drug companies should be allowed to advertise these drugs as safe and effective for long-term pain, if we know very well that they’re not.”
U.S. Government Weighs in on Painkiller Problem
In related news, the Obama administration has said that manufacturers of extended-release painkillers including OxyContin and Opana have to pay for educational courses for doctors. This will help them to prescribe the proper dosage of potentially dangerous drugs and keep them out of the hands of addicts.
It’s clear that something needs to change before more people suffer and die. Although the problem runs deep, safe painkiller prescribing is one of the ways officials can help stem the rampant abuse that has taken hold of America.