Opioid Prescriptions are Falling- How will Patients Deal?

It is no secret that America is going through an opioid crisis, with a death rate higher than that of AIDS at its peak in the 1980’s, as reported by the New Yorker. The death rate of opioids has also topped that of gun homicides and motor vehicle accidents. As the Trump administration prepares this week to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency, we can expect prescriptions of these types of drugs to fall.

However, when we think of this crisis, we cannot glaze over the people who truly do need these painkillers and drugs to keep a decent quality of life due to chronic pain. For some of these patients, their pain is so unbearable without their prescriptions that they are driven to suicide to escape the pain of simply trying to get through the day.

It is hard to truly get a grasp of how large this problem is, because we do not know exactly how large and widespread the problem is, according to Michael Botticelli of the Grayken Center for Addiction. He, along with many other addiction specialists across the nation, are calling for a “rigorous evaluation” of the problem.

In order to properly treat this problem, we must also understand that there is a distinction to be made between patients on a higher dose of medication to control their pain and patients who are on a high dose to maintain their addiction and, to a point, also make it through the day.