Prescription drug epidemic has become a serious nation-wide problem – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2008 approximately 15,000 Americans died of prescription painkiller overdoses, a record high. This has become a problem that is effecting all ages, nationalities, locations, educations and income levels. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is now turning their attention to Medicare, the federal health insurance for individuals aged 65 and older as well as those under 65 who meet special criteria, forcing insurance plans to pay closer attention to patients who seek prescription painkillers.
Due to recent findings, United States health authorities are requiring that Medicare prescription drug plans keep a closer eye on prescriptions for commonly abused painkillers and withhold payments if they suspect a patient is abusing the drugs or even doctor shopping. Doctor shopping, which is when patients approach several different doctors to receive multiple prescriptions for painkillers like Vicodin, Oxycontin and Opana, has become an issue amongst Medicare recipients. The Government Accountability Office found that in 2008 about 170,000 individuals receiving Medicare obtained frequently abused prescription drugs from five or more doctors.
Prescription pill abuse is not uncommon in older adults, especially since seniors are more prone to experiencing medical problems, like arthritis, osteoporosis and loss of muscle mass, which can cause injuries that require the use of painkillers. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Oxycontin and Percocet are the fifth most dispensed prescription drugs in Medicare. Unfortunately, opiate abuse among the older population could be just as or even more dangerous than abuse within younger age groups. Since most older adults take regular medication for a variety of reasons, adding prescription painkillers to their medication routine can have severe or even fatal consequences. Additionally, older adults can be more susceptible to the side effects of any type of medication, which include constipation, fatigue, dizziness, respiratory depression, muscle spasms and even coma for prescription opiates.
If you or a loved one is struggling with dependency to prescription painkillers, we urge you to contact your medical physicians. For more information on choosing an opiate detox program for yourself or a loved one, please feel free to contact our office directly. The Waismann Method is a safe and proven treatment for opiate dependency that utilizes the most advanced medical techniques available. The rapid opiate detoxification procedure is carried out in a full-service hospital in Southern California by board-certified anesthesiologists while patients remain under deep sedation, so they experience minimal conscious withdrawal or suffering.