A Solution to Prescription Drug Abuse among Teenagers
The rising epidemic of prescription drug abuse among adolescents must quickly be addressed. Abuse rates have sky rocketed over the past decade. A main reason this increase has occurred is because the amount of drugs being produced and available have increased. One solution is not going to complete deteriorate the problem, but with the help of society it can be reduced. A solution that has already been established in many states throughout the United States is a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. In 2013 Astho defined Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs as “PDMP’s were created to improve patient care when controlled substances are prescribed and dispensed as well as to address prescription drug diversion a nonmedical use and abuse of controlled pharmaceuticals.” A program such as this will help improve awareness and decrease the amount of drugs on the streets. Prescribers, pharmacies, and patients can all work together to ensure that prescription drugs do not end up in the wrong hands. A rise in the amount of prescription drugs being produced and distributed is a large factor to the abuse problem. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs is an effective way of being able to assess the number of prescriptions given out to patients. “According to the Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs, as of October 16, 2011, 37 states have operational PDMPs that have the capacity to receive and distribute controlled substance prescription information to authorized users” (State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs. 2011). These monitoring programs are able to work by prescribers and pharmacies recording each time a prescription is written and filled. Prescribed and dispensed drugs are recorded using and state wide internet database by both the doctors and pharmacies. Monitoring programs will also show if the patient has had a history of drug problems by looking at their criminal record and previous prescriptions. PDMP’s are funded by federal grants. The most prominent grant available is the Harold Rogers PDMP grant program which provides funding for all aspects of the program. Programs such as these have many benefits. Doctors and pharmacies are more aware of their patient’s drug history. A patient can be denied a prescription if the doctor and pharmacy deems necessary. Reasons why someone would be denied drugs is because of previous history of abuse, previously illegally obtaining prescriptions, and illegally selling prescriptions. All of these reasons are recorded within the monitoring program through the use of technology. PDMP’s keep people from obtaining multiple prescriptions of the same drug from different doctors. Every time a prescription is written, all authorized users are able to see the current drugs the patient is taking. This decreases the chance for a person to abuse or illegally sell prescriptions. Another benefit of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs is that they lead people to reach out for aid to cure their abuse problem. “Identification of an at-risk patient may encourage the patient to seek help and the patient can be referred for treatment if desired. However, proactive analysis and distribution of PDMP data may reduce the need for substance abuse treatment admissions” (Bagalman. 2012). Patients being more aware of their own problem can help them avert from abusing the drug. Data that is recorded in the database can also aid the law enforcement. “Identification of patterns provides a resource to target areas for further investigation. Data may identify patients who exhibit questionable patterns of obtaining and filling controlled substances or prescribers who exhibit patterns of over prescribing controlled substances” (Bagalman. 2012). Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs also impose some negative factors as well. Doctors may be too concerned with getting into trouble with the law for over-prescribing so they may...
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