Prescription drug addiction is becoming an increasing problem in the UK. This type of substance abuse can often go undetected for a long time, meaning individuals often end suffering a great deal before they are able to get help. There is now a new approach being tested in the US that will make it easier to recognise and prevent this type of drug addiction.
Database to Combat Prescription Drug Addiction
The new scheme to deal with prescription drug addiction in the US is being tested in Arizona. It involves a database where information is kept on any prescribed medications given to patients. This makes it much harder for people to get their hands on more of the drug than is required for treating their condition.
When individuals become addicted to prescribed medication, they will often be willing to go to extreme lengths to get their hands on more of the drug. A common tactic is to visit a different GP or turn up at an accident & emergency department. The new physician has no real way of telling if this person is already getting drugs from another doctor, so they will often feel obliged to prescribe some more. People who have developed an addiction can become very good at manipulating the medical profession – it is easy to exploit the system because there are so many loopholes.
The benefit of this database is that it makes it easy to see if people have been prescribed drugs by any other doctor. If such a scheme were introduced across the UK, it would make it impossible for patients to persuade doctors to provide them with extra drugs. This will make it harder for them to continue with the behaviour and will encourage them to get help to end their addiction. It may also prevent many from crossing the line into addiction.
The Need to Protect People from Prescription Drug Addiction
Nobody ever plans to cross the line into prescription drug addiction. The individual will usually have a very legitimate reason for using these substances in the beginning – they may be dealing with severe pain or suffering due to chronic insomnia, for example. The problem is that over time the person can begin to enjoy the side effects of these substances. This can include feelings of euphoria and deep relaxation.
Problems start to occur when the individual moves from taking these drugs for the reasons they were prescribed originally, to a desire to experience the pleasant side effects. This can be something that occurs sub-consciously, but the person has now crossed the line into recreational drug use. If they continue to use the substance they will become addicted, and they can then become willing to go to extreme lengths to get their hands on the substance.
If the symptoms of prescription drug abuse could be observed sooner, it may reduce the risk of people developing an addiction. A database where information about every prescribed medication was kept would be of great benefit here – of course, there would need to be safeguards in place in regards to data protection.
It will be interesting to see if the scheme in the US will be adopted here in the UK. It is likely to reduce the amount of prescription drug abuse, but it is not going to eradicate this problem completely because it will still be possible to obtain these substances on the black market. The rise of this type of substance abuse is a real concern; anything that can be done to combat it is welcome.