Three U.S. states — Florida, Michigan and Tennessee — are set to comply with the new laws restricting doctors from prescribing excessive opioids to patients. Starting July 1, physicians in Michigan cannot prescribe more than a seven-day supply of opioids for patients battling post-surgical pain, and other painful conditions, such as bone and back injuries. The new law prohibits doctors from writing prescriptions for opioid refill before the elapse of the seven-day period with the intent of making addictive painkillers less accessible.
Florida seems to be the most stringent among the three states, where doctors cannot exceed the three-day supply for severe pain, unless stringent conditions are met for prescribing a seven-day supply. While in Tennessee, pharmacists are authorized to partially fill a prescription that doesn’t exceed half of the number of days it’s written for. Under the new initiative, Tennessee doctors will now require to document the specific reasons for prescribing opioids to a particular patient, besides ensuring that the drugs have been prescribed after obtaining the patient’s consent. However, the Tennessee Pharmacists Association (TPA) expressed concerns that the new move would deprive “legitimate patients” from accessing life-saving prescription drugs.
Experts justify the rationale behind the new state laws by saying that limiting the access to opioids will any day limit the chance to abuse the pills, which, in turn, may lead to fewer overdose deaths. “There’s a lot of data out there that shows that for most, at least 90 percent of acute pain episodes, (patients) are only going to require three to seven days of opioids,” said Dr. Nabil Sibai, the chief anesthesiologist at the pain services department of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Number of opioid prescriptions going down
Studies show doctors have started minimizing the number of opioid prescriptions they write. During 2013-2017, opioid prescriptions came down by nearly 22 percent in the country, according to the American Medical Association (AMA). Experts feel that fewer opioid prescriptions can help deal with the opioid epidemic ravaging the entire country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blames the countless prescriptions written by doctors for the high overdose death rates across the country. In fact, experts attribute nearly 50 percent of the drug overdose deaths nationwide to prescription opioids. Moreover, against the backdrop of the rampant drug crisis, they believe it is the duty of the medical community, as well as patients, to collectively identify and prevent the misuse of prescription opioids.
The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) describes chronic pain as the major cause of suffering of millions across the U.S., resulting in an ever-growing surge in health care and rehabilitation costs, in addition to a corresponding decline in productivity. Such a widespread occurrence calls for a larger acknowledgement of the pain problem, and the urgency to seek alternative safer options to manage the crisis.
Seeking treatment for opioid addiction
Prescription drugs, including opioid painkillers, prove to be effective only if taken as prescribed by a doctor. However, misuse or non-medical use may cause addiction, besides painful withdrawal symptoms. In fact, studies show opioids are widely abused followed by heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. With millions of Americans languishing in throes of addiction, the only way to embark on the road to sobriety is to seek a personalized opioid addiction treatment program at a professional rehabilitation center to reverse the negative effects of the drugs.
If wondering where to start with to find help for opioid addiction, one needn’t look further than Sovereign Health to avail the latest treatment options at its reputed opioid addiction treatment centers. You may call at our 24/7 helpline or chat online for more information about our residential state-of-the-art facilities.