No Money to Fight Prescription Drug Addiction?

November 18, 2016

Governments, like individuals, choose their priorities when it comes to spending money. Is your state doing all it can to help prevent prescription drug abuse?Dealers who sell prescription drugs to our family members often get their supplies by doctor shopping. They go from one doctor to another, faking symptoms, and get prescriptions for painkillers, stimulants and other addictive drugs. They might go to five different doctors every day, get prescriptions from each, fill them at different pharmacies, and have 150 or so pills to sell – on that day alone. A prescription drug monitoring program, designed to prevent this type of thing, has now been adopted by several states but some are holding back because they choose not to fund it.A recent news item focused on Washington. The State approved the prescription drug monitoring program in 2007 but hasn’t yet implemented it because they won’t approve the $680,000 it would take to get it up and running. In the meantime, prescription drugs are the second most abused drugs in the U.S, according to the DEA and, in Washington, prescription painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Vicodin and Lortab have been big problems for a while now, and methadone abuse has increased.

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These drugs are among the worst – they have dangerous side effects, are very prone to prescription drug addiction, and have been a primary cause of prescription drug overdoses and deaths. Washington State is looking at a budget shortfall of nearly $6 billion over the next two years, which is why they’re unwilling to put out the $680,000 it would take to enable doctors and pharmacists to track who’s getting prescriptions for what.But it’s possible that at least part of the reason the state is facing a shortfall is directly related to the prescription drug addiction and abuse the program is designed to address. Thefts in pharmacies, nursing homes and hospitals, for example, are common. Just for the drugs. How much state money is being spent on those crimes?A lot of the business in hospital ERs is from prescription drug overdoses or interactions. How much state money is being spent on that? How much is the state spending on vandalism, break-ins and burglaries in homes, purse snatching and other crimes that were prescription drug-related? What about motor vehicle accidents? How much damage is done to individuals and property? How much is that costing? Even if the insurance companies are paying out the claims, the incident still has to be processed through the State system.

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The DEA also says physicians and pharmacists illegally prescribing and dispensing prescription drugs is another source fof the problem. The monitoring program would catch those guys – which means fewer more people would be getting addicted to the drugs and even more money would be saved. Generally speaking, whether or not people have enough money for something depends on their priorities. They choose to spend their money on X instead of Y because X is more important to them. The same is true for governments.Every person with a family member or friend who has been affected by prescription drug addiction, with either themselves or a loved one, knows how devastating this problem really is. Make sure your government knows what’s important to you.

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