A recent article in the Daytona Beach News-Journal provides balanced coverage on the complex issue of preventing prescription drug abuse, while also ensuring that patients who legitimately need medications have access to them.
…the crackdown on pill mills in Florida has caused some of the most unintended consequences for patients who need pain medications.
It is significant that the article comes from a Florida news outlet because the crackdown on pill mills in Florida has caused some of the most unintended consequences for patients who need pain medications.
The statistics in the state are stark. According to the article, after unscrupulous doctors set up storefronts for selling pain medications, overdoses increased by 61 percent from 2003-2009 and an average of eight Floridians died of an overdose daily. The resulting crackdown stemmed the tide of prescription drug abuse, but had other far-reaching ramifications. Patients were screened before they could receive medications and pharmacists and doctors were in fear of losing their licenses if they over dispensed the medications.
NACDS has monitored this issue closely and continues to engage in strategies to ensure all facets of the complex issue are represented fairly—including a recent letter to the editor by NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, in The Washington Post; the release of a consensus document on the challenges related to prescribing and dispensing controlled substance prescriptions; and ongoing support for legislation that would curb abuse and still allow patients access to medications they need. The NACDS Strategic Communications Committee is facilitating a media outreach effort to urge balanced coverage of related issues.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal article is a step in the right direction in walking the very fine line between achieving a common goal of preventing drug abuse, while also making sure patients with chronic pain and other disorders are not denied medications they genuinely need.