A clearer picture is starting to emerge surrounding the death of Prince and prescription pain medications may have played a significant role. According to one report he was renewing Rx’s as much as four times a week. It’s obvious that either he knew how to “play” the system, or that safeguards were not in place to prevent abuse and addiction.
After I broke my shoulder in a bicycle crash I was given an Rx for a light painkiller, but when the doctor wrote it, he told me that the hospital only allowed two Rx’s. After that I would have to use ibuprofen. The sad truth is that abuse and misuse of pain medications can easily be prevented.
Everyone who receives an opioid should be entered into either a state or federal database with a social security number. People who receive more than two Rx’s should be “flagged” and require additional documentation from other HCP’s. Those who have a chronic need for pain medication, such as cancer patients, should get a special Rx card that is not transferable. In addition, the FDA should investigate pharmacies and doctors who dispense and write for a high number of opioids.
HCP’s who carelessly write for opioids should be criminally liable is patients overdose and at a minimum have their licenses terminated. 60 Minutes recently reported on a doctor in West Virginia who wrote for hundreds of opioid prescriptions after patients paid for an hour seminar on pain. He is currently being investigated.
Pain medications are a necessary product for chronic pain suffers, but it’s too easy to get addicted. Time to get serious about this problem before another story breaks on opioid addiction.