It has become clear to many public officials that the prescription drug abuse problem in the United States is way past any single solution. Oftentimes, people who are injured or who suffer from chronic pain are given legitimate prescriptions for powerful painkillers, but they can cause a dependency rather quickly. This dependency can lead to a deeper substance abuse problem and can escalate into heroin addiction.
States in many parts of the country have launched their own programs and initiatives to prevent the prescription painkiller epidemic from spreading. New York state is following suit, as several legislators are trying to implement bills that range from adding more barriers to prescribing narcotics to requiring additional training for doctors.
“It’s a culture change so the professional societies will have to embrace it and train their professional members about these recommendations and health care providers will have to train their patients about a new expectation. People may not be able to go to the health care providers’ office with just anything and expect to receive prescription pain medication,” explained Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein, an advocate of the new legislation.
Opponents of additional restrictions or requirements claim it will either be too difficult for the doctors or potentially make treatment more difficult to obtain for people who are injured, but similar attempts in other places don’t support those concerns. These should be viewed as potential life-saving measures and hopefully physicians see that more discernment for painkillers would be better for the health and well being of the majority of patients.