North Dakota’s innovative approach to combating the opioid crisis in rural America involves stakeholders at every level – from pharmaceutical companies to the public. Although the state’s death rate from opioid overdoses is less than half the national average, officials were alarmed when it spiked in 2016. In response, the state launched several new initiatives that focused on education, front-line prevention, and drug collection/diversion using Sharps Compliance MedSafe Medication Disposal System kiosks.
Continue reading “North Dakota Pharmacists Use MedSafe to Help Fight Opioid Abuse”
In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressed concern that physicians were contributing to the opioid epidemic by over-prescribing the drugs. Recent evidence shows that doctors paid attention. In July, Blue Cross Blue Shield reported 2017 numbers showing fewer opioid prescriptions and an increase in new prescriptions meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s chronic pain prescription guidelines.
Continue reading “New Laws and Prescription Guidelines Target Opioid Abuse Crisis”
Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic in the United States. Opioids, depressants and stimulants are the most abused medications. According to the Los Angeles Times, the leading cause of death from unintentional injuries in the U.S. is drug-related poisonings, which has surpassed automobile accidents. Between 1999 and 2006, deaths from drug poisoning have almost doubled. The first step towards preventing drug abuse is proper medication disposal.
Continue reading “Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse at Home”
In our last blog post, we explored how prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. This week we will discuss how to prevent prescription drug abuse and what to do with any unused medications.
Many opioid abusers get the prescription drugs from friends or relatives for free, according to a study by JAMA Internal Medicine. Other sources include getting a prescription from one or more doctors, stealing or buying prescription drugs from friends or family and buying prescription drugs from drug dealers.1
Continue reading “Part 2: Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse”
Prescription drug abuse has become a growing epidemic in the United States. Fifty-two million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically at least once during their lifetime.1 Every day 44 people die from an overdose of painkillers.2 Prescription drug abuse occurs when drugs have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and are not taken as prescribed or are taken by someone to whom they were not prescribed.3 The most abused types of drugs are opioids, followed by tranquilizers and stimulants.4
Opioids are pain medications that decrease the strength of pain signals to the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which reduces the effects of a painful stimulus. Opioids include oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian) and hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin). Since these drugs affect the regions of the brain responsible for reward, some users may experience a euphoric reaction.5
Continue reading “Part 1: The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic”