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Opioid Addictions Require Legal Action

Opioid Addictions - The Bergand Group

Just this month, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced a plan to cut back on the number of opioid prescriptions that are written “by at least 25% in 2017.” Is this ambitious, considering that their goal is only a year away, or is this a sign that a decrease in the number of opioid addictions is just around the corner?

New Laws to Fight Opioid Addictions

The DEA and other federal agencies have said more than once lately that there is a dire need for change. Particularly after the letter written by the Surgeon General to all U.S. doctors, there can be no doubt as to the seriousness of the situation. Professionals across the nation have to come up with better and more effective ways to fight back against this epidemic and the overdoses that unfortunately follow on the heels of opioid addictions.

Another player in this field is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention which ” released a series of guidelines for physicians prescribing opiates for chronic pain that highlight the potential for abuse and addiction inherent in the powerful painkillers.” It’s been stated before that many doctors aren’t aware of the risk when they prescribe these high-strength painkillers for their patients, so education and information are key. Ideally, there will be another, better way for them to help patients to manage chronic and other intense pain, but this will at least bring them pause before they choose to administer it in any dose.

Of course, even if doctors are kept more up to speed with the harsh realities of these prescriptions, some will still make the call to give them out. That’s why the DEA is lowering the amount that they are legally allowed to provide in order to give some structure to the system across the board. With a hard and fast rule mandating exactly how many opioids can be offered, there will automatically have to be more discernment about when they should be utilized. Hopefully these limits will produce the results envisioned by the government agencies when they proposed these laws.

Unfortunately, despite all this, doctor’s offices aren’t the only places that those with addictions can receive these drugs. There are external sources, sometimes even overseas, which provide another outlet for the perpetuation of drug abuse. When those who have such issues are unable to get the dosage that they want from their doctor, they may turn to the streets and other unsavory sources to cover that desire. Despite the DEA and other departments’ work, their policies can’t as easily touch what is already illegal and difficult to stop.

There are still difficulties within the system. Well-intended actions don’t always have the best results. A 2013 increase in the allowance of painkiller prescriptions resulted in a correlated number of overdose deaths despite all of this being within the law. It will take a lot more research and experimenting to find a balance between being able to effectively treat those suffering from chronic pain and to prevent any more addictions or overdoses to opioids.

Optimism is necessary. This step, hopefully implemented next year, is a good one. “Limiting supply is one measure to take, but if we are really going to turn the tide of the opioid epidemic and save lives, we also have to increase the number of addiction treatment beds available and ensure that insurance will cover those who want to recover from their addiction.” There has to also be a focus on our addiction treatment centers and on making them the best that they can be so that preventing additional opioid addictions is more within our grasp than ever.

To learn more about prescription drug addiction, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including medication management strategies.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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