Prescription medications, particularly prescription painkillers, are some of the most dangerous substances available. While necessary in some cases, there has been gross overprescribing in recent years.

How Did Prescription Drugs Become a Problem

These drugs are just as addictive as illegal narcotics, and once people are hooked, they need to continue using to prevent painful withdrawal symptoms. Once the opiate epidemic started to gain attention, doctors started cracking down on prescribing of these medications, but the damage had already been done. As prescription drugs became harder and harder to come by, the price of them on the street skyrocketed, making them difficult and costly to come by for addicts. Enter heroin, which quickly became a cheaper and more easily accessible substitute. This progression has played a large part in the soaring numbers of heroin addicts across the country. But addicts are often desperate enough to try to get drugs wherever possible. Many try to fool doctors into giving them painkillers, usually by faking pain or even going as far as to inflict injuries on themselves just to score a prescription. Doctors have needed to develop protocols and increased awareness of the signs of “drug seeking” behavior, to distinguish addicts from those who genuinely need pain relief. But what are the “red flags” doctors use to make this distinction?

Ways that Doctors Identify Drug-Seeking

Some “classic” indicators of drug-seeking behavior are:

  • Complaining of headaches, back pain, or dental pain
  • Requesting medication by name
  • Requesting medication refills
  • Reporting lost or stolen medications
  • Rating their pain as 10 out of 10 (or greater than)
  • Reporting being out of medication
  • Requesting medications parentally (intravenously)

However, a recent study found that these identifiers are not foolproof. Another solution that holds promise are prescription drug monitoring programs. These programs track and monitor any substances that are being prescribed or administered, and can provide doctors with information about a patient’s prescription history (even outside of their clinic). However, these programs have been slow to catch on, and thus far are only established in nine states.

Until drug monitoring programs are more well-established, it is critical for doctors to remain vigilant and cautious in their prescribing methods, in order to hopefully cut down on the mass numbers of opiate addicts that need help to recover.

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Help is Available

If you or someone you know is addicted to prescription painkillers or opiates, there is a way out. Call the treatment professionals at Serenity Acres today for your free confidential assessment: 1-800-203-2024.