There is no question that prescription drug abuse is absolutely the worst it has ever been. Our nation has a public health epidemic on its hands, and health care professionals may be partly to blame.
Of the 28,000 deaths opioid related deaths in 2014, prescription drug abuse is responsible for 19,000. That is a 400% increase since 2000.
Many are starting to realize a change needs to come about. In order to fight against addiction and overdose, a multitude of things need to happen or are already being put in place.
Lawmakers and politicians are introducing new bills to offer more treatment and resources and Narcan (the overdose reversal drug) is now more readily available to the public, law enforcement and first responders.
Although such efforts are profoundly impacting, we need to have more in place for prevention measures. Medical schools may be where we should look first.
In March, the White House asked over 170 medical schools to sign a pledge that mandates medical students be taught new federal guidelines for safe opioid prescribing. Of those asked, only 61 signed on so far.
Michael Botticelli, head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a recent interview, “The nation has seen no huge change in prescribing behavior around addictive opioid painkillers, partly because there is little to no education within medical education curriculums around addiction and safe prescribing.”
Due to their critics and the pledge signed in the spring, some medical schools across the nation are finally starting to add new training to their curriculum and prepare their students for real life situations when it comes to prescription drug abuse.
Universities such as Columbia and Brown, along with many others, have recently received federal grants to train students on an interviewing method that assists in properly screening patients for addiction.
Furthermore, Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, urged the state’s medical schools to create a uniform curriculum for prescription drug abuse and addiction. Legislatures in Pennsylvania are proposing such ideas as well.
“There’s a sense of urgency to tackle this issue from all fronts, and I think medical schools and teaching hospitals are really committed to doing their part,” Tannaz Rasouli, director of public policy and strategic outreach for the American Association of Medical Colleges, said.
If you are struggling with prescription drug abuse, Clearbrook can help. With over 4 decades of experience, we can treat your disease and help get you on the path to recovery.