Hospitals Failing to Catch Prescription Drug Abuse

Doctor's desk writing.

One of the most important steps that needs to be taken in the fight against addiction is to prevent hospitals and pharmacies from becoming a place where drug abuse is able to grow and foster. The truth is, a lot of drugs that are used to help treat a variety of ailments can be danger, if used recreationally. Currently, our system is quite inadequate at solving this problem, as rising rates of addiction have stemmed from increased prescription drug abuse. Solving this problem will be a difficult, complicated task, but it is one that we absolutely need to take if we are to reduce the rising rates of addiction in our country…


Software has a mixed success history


As it stands, now, most hospitals around the country utilize special software that is supposed to detect if a patient is at risk of prescription drug abuse. Many doctors who use this software have said that it has been helpful, however, it has been shown to fail to detect almost 40% of patients who abuse prescription drugs, according to a recent study, and nearly one-in-ten of those failures produced a near-fatal or fatal incident. While there is movement with software, there should be a great deal of caution placed on relying too heavily on a computerized method.


Necessity of a mixed approach


In order to really make an impact on drug abuse, a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach must be taken that introduces solutions from every angle. Our plan to catch prescription drug abuse cannot be dependent on software or human judgement, alone, but must be done through a mixture of ideas. We need to rigorously examine the series of safeguards that are in place to be given access to prescription medication, without trying to make it impossible to get for those who need it.


Prescription drugs are being used as a gateway


The reason that it is so imperative that we overhaul and fix our prescription drug system is that the abuse of it isn’t just contributing to the overuse of prescription medication, but also is providing a roadmap for people to end up using worse substances. Currently, we are seeing the effects of how overaccess to medical opiates has led to many users getting hooked on heroin, which is cheaper and supplies a more visceral high. Allowing our hospitals and pharmacies to become gateways to more horrifying forms of addiction is one of the most egregious examples of public disservice.