Prescription drug abuse is a common phenomenon in the US. The vice is turning out to be an epidemic and is likely to run out of hand if corrective measures are not implemented. Opioid is a drug substance that is mainly used as a pain reliever for non-Chronic pain that isnon-cancerous. This pain killer modifies theopioid receptacles ending up producing morphine-like outcome.The drug is medically used as an aesthesia, relief pain, cough suppression and militate against diarrhea (Pon et al., 2016).This is due to its action on the receptacles found in the peripheral and central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract.
Between 1990 and 2010, the sale of opioids has been on the rise. Between the year 2011 and 2012the number of adults who accepted to have used opioid within thelast thirty days months had risen to 6.9% of the total population(Cheatle, 2015).This is a worrying trend.Inthe year 2012, 4.9 million people were on nonmedical users of pain relievers. This is an increase of 12. 8 percent from the previous year admitted to be using opioid fromnon-medical use. The drug has been adopted by some people as a recreational substance since its origin is the opium plat.The reporting of emergency which is attributed to non-medical use of opioid was on the rise. In the year 2001, the number of people who were received but the emergency department was 488,004(Cheatle, 2015).According to Cheatle(2015), in the same year 1896,986 people wereadmitted for treatment against opioidrelated disorder s.38329 deaths were reported, these deaths were related to drug abuse and misuse. Of this high number of deaths opioid related deaths were recorded at 16651, as stated by Cheatle(2015), this figure is veryhigh. This papers analyses three articles that have been documented on the use of opioid and its effects to the general population.
Prescription opioid misuse, abuse, morbidityand mortality.Balancing effective pain management and safety
This article studies the extent of the relationship between different pain management and the safety concern that come with it. It studies opioid as a pain reliever and it effect arising from the continuous use and its abuse. This article clearly brings out the extent of use of opioids in the society and the extent of the effects. The article describes the intended use of opioids as a pain killer and it states that it was to be used for patients with chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP)drug is medically used as an aesthesia, relief pain, cough suppression and militate against diarrhea (Pon et al, 2016). It also narrates the difficulty on the definition of the term misuse, abuse andaddiction of opioid which has created difficulty in the analysis of the extent of its misuse and abuse. The article however does not give its definition of the terms that would form a basis of argument on the matter, instead it recommends for further research.
This article clearly narrates the comparison of the use of opioid and other pain reliever that would perform the same duties.It compares the use of other ant pain drugs e.g. placebo with opioid and the results bring out clear view of the extent of its use. It further compares the efficacy of the drug in comparison with to anti-depressants and anti-inflammatories. The article successfully brings out the danger that is facing the nation due to the continued misuse and abuse of the drug. It points out at the disturbing figure. 22% of patients have discontinued the use of opioids due to the effects of the drug that was adverse to the patients. 10% of patients discontinued the use of the drug due to its insufficiency to relief pain (Cheatle, 2015).The article fails to narrate the adverse effects of the drug making it difficult to clearly conclude on the effects of its abuse and misuse. It also fails to explain the likely cause of the drug being insufficient in relief of pain.
This article discusses the effects of the continued use of opioid and its relation with other drugs for both medical andnon-medical drugs. It points out the combination and a risk that faces the society due to the interaction of the drug with other substances that lead to intoxication (Cheatle, 2015). The article points out that 27% of people on opioid analgesics also receive benzodiazepine. 50% of deaths due to over dosage occurred when patients were prescribed to both opioid and benzodiazepine. This shows the adverse effect of their combination. The article does not give an alternative combination or remedy to the situation.
Prescription histories and dose strength associated with overdose deaths
This article studies the number of deaths that occurred due to the misuse and overdose of opioid and otherclosely related drugs that are used as pain relievers. The study narrows down to North Carolina. The reduction in the area of coverage is likely to provide credible information and real time observation of the situation.
The data show the real situation and why it is an epidemic. The article is based in 2010 a year in which no data changes is expected, this further increases the credibility of the resultsobtained(Hirsch et al, 2014). The method of collection of the data is also reliable since it collects data from reliable institutions and departments. As stated by Hirsch et al (2014), in the year 2010,892 people in North Carolina died from unintendeddrug overdose. Of this population 61% were male. This comparison give a clear indication that thevice is widespread and cuts across the gender but the male population is the most affected. 77% of the deaths are of people aged between 24 and 54 years of age and 42% are rural dwellers (Hirsch et al, 2014). This data is very explanatory on the extent composition and the general distribution of the cases. The article does not however give an explanation on the possible causes and remedies to the situation. It does not also provide a baseline data to show how the problem has been growing with time.
Combating an epidemic of prescription of opioid abuse
According to this article, in the US Opioid is the most prescribed medication compared to the chronic diseases medication with 136.7 prescription dispersed in 2011(Hirsch et al, 2014). US is the leading consumer of opioid products with 80% of the world`s supply. Over the last few years the number of death arising from the consumption of opioid increased by a four digit.Study from the article indicates that there are no signs of decline in the prescription of the opioid. The study gives a clear understanding of the situation but it does not confidently show why there will be no decline in the use of opioid.
The article also revealsthat dentists are the third leading prescribers of opioid at 8% after internists 14.6% and primary care physicians 28.8%drug is medically used as an aesthesia, relief pain, cough suppression and militate against diarrhea (Pon et al., 2016).This is due to believe that opioid isimmediate pain relievers.With this worrying data the study give a clear picture of the situation but it does not give a remedy.Most of the teenagers tend to visit dentists more than any other health care providers in the community. The dentists prescribe these opioids to them but most of these opioids end up being abused more the taken for a purpose. Most of the patients are prescribed opioids during their third molar extraction. This takes a shot period but the number of tablets prescribed are more than they take thus the leftovers end up into the medicines cabinets’ other than being discarded. These leftovers end up being used for nonmedical purposes.
The article narrates another disturbing source of opioid abuse whereby most of the abusers of the opioid get them from their family members due to the leftovers stored in the cabinets. Survey has shown that the dentists are prescribing more tablets than the patients need to use during their painful proceduresdrug is medically used as an aesthesia, relief pain, cough suppression and militate against diarrhea (Pon et al., 2016). The study gives a procedure on how to safely dispose of the left overs to avoid passing over drug to other parties. It recommends that if the problem is to be countered, opioid should be prescribed in quantities which are only sufficient for a purpose. In case there is a leftover these opioids should be discarded by mixing with a ground coffee, wrapped in a plastic bag and thrown in house hold litter bin. Legislation should be put in place to ensure than the drugs prescribed are monitored and regulated so that these opioids are no longer prescribed to patients but their alternatives.
In conclusion, opioid abuse, misuse and addiction a situation of very great concern thatrequires urgent intervention.The drug was deemed efficient in the effective balanced pain management (EBPM), but has since been abused, misused and overdosed due to the assumption that opioids are safe for patients who are in great pain(Hirsch et al, 2014). Prolonged use of the drug in combination with other drugs leads to tolerance and addiction. It also leads to hyperaglesia which is a condition in which the body becomes very sensitive to pain.Deaths due to addiction and abuse have also been on the rise. Legislation to combat the vice is required to protect the integrity of the drug and reduce the effect of its use.
Cheatle, M. D.(2015).Prescription of opioid misuse, abuse, morbidity and mortality: Balancing effective pain management and safety.Pain Med, 16(1):S3-8. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pme.12904
Hirsch, A., Proescholdbell, S. K., Bronson, W. &Dasgupta, N. (2014).Prescription histories and dose strength associated with overdose deaths.Pain Med, 15(7):1187-95.
Pon, D, Awuah, K, Curi, D, Okyere, E& Stern, C. S. (2016).Combating an epidemic of prescription opioid abuse.J Calif Dent Assoc. 43(11):673-8.