There are three major entities pushing drugs to us: Pharmaceutical companies, physicians and drug dealers on the street. The end result can be the same. You can become addicted following doctor’s orders or by taking a legal or illegal drug. The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) monitors the creation of new drugs. It is more difficult to monitor the distribution of existing drugs. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has established a state database that physicians must check before they prescribe drugs. The Commonwealth has also established controlled substance abuse guidelines for physicians. Also, emergency room physicians are now only allowed to prescribe six-days-worth of a controlled substance abuse such as painkillers. The police are going after physicians who are running pill mills. These are doctors who write one prescription after another to people who are not even their patients. The pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma L.P. maker of OxyContin, are being taken into court and charged with knowing the dangers of OxyContin and aggressively marketing it anyway. Drug Dealers are now being charged with homicide if their customer dies. Physicians now have to take a class in order to prescribe medication assisted drugs but most have no education in order to prescribe opioids.
Physicians are trained to heal and most people want quick relief for their pain. So what is the answer? We need to empower ourselves to ask questions such as “What treatments are there for my pain besides addictive substances?” “I believe in a holistic approach to my problems.” “What else should I be doing to alleviate my problem?” “If pain medication is the only answer then what is the lowest possible dosage that I can take?” “What is a safe length of time for me to take this medication?” “Do you have any training in addiction?” We need to start the dialogue on drug prevention with our family members and our physicians.