Drug Monitoring Programs Put in Place around the Country
Prescription drug abuse often starts innocently with an individual getting a prescription to help them manage either chronic or acute pain. Once their body becomes acclimated to the dosage prescribed to them, they often begin to self medicate by taking more than prescribed. The next thing they know, they are addicted to their prescribed medication and running around town doctor shopping. Doctor shopping can be defined as an individual going to numerous doctors complaining of ailments in an attempt to fuel their prescription drug addiction. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently wrote an article about actions that are being taken to address the increased amount of opioids that are being prescribed as a result of individuals doctor shopping. From 1997-2007, use of prescription opioid drugs increased 402%. Drug database monitoring programs are being set up throughout the United States to help prevent doctors from prescribing overlapping medication. In Ohio a study was done with the amount of prescriptions given out when doctors had access to a drug monitoring system. The results yielded a 41% difference in the number of people who were prescribed opioid prescriptions from medical professionals. Preventing individuals from doctor shopping is one angle the government is taking to stop prescription drug abuse and addiction. Thus far there are 34 states that have set up a database to help doctors keep track of what prescriptions an individual has received in the past from other doctors. Allowing doctors to have access to prescriptions written in the past for their patients will help them to determine whether or not a person medically needs the prescription drugs or if they are merely doctor shopping.