Experts feel that writing opioid prescriptions by doctors plays an intrinsic role in fueling the drug crisis, as people pop the pills without having any knowledge about the consequent harms. This has been seconded by a Siena College poll released on April 29, 2018 which says that out of nearly a quarter of New York residents who were prescribed opioid medications over the last two years, only half of them were warned by a physician against the associated risks.
Besides, of the people who were prescribed opioid painkillers during the survey period, a whopping 62 percent did not use the entire prescription. Of them, almost 40 percent failed to discard the unused pills. According to the poll, almost half of the participants said that insurers’ reluctance to cover the medical cost was a hurdle to receiving treatment.
“With over eighty percent of New Yorkers saying that doctors over-prescribing opioids and allowing patients’ access to too many pain pills are at least somewhat responsible for the current level of opioid abuse, it is concerning, but not surprising, that among those that were prescribed, a quarter admit that they were given too many pills and nearly two-thirds didn’t take the entire prescription,” said Don Levy, director of Siena College Research Institute.
According to the poll, nearly 11 percent participants said that it was very easy to receive treatment, but 26 percent opined it was either “not very easy” or “not easy at all.” Also, 31 percent respondents mentioned the lack of space to accommodate and offer treatment to every person suffering from an opioid addiction. It shows that an affordable addiction treatment is a far-fetched dream.
The poll was initiated by the Prescription for Progress: United Against Opioid Addiction, a new coalition serving to raise awareness and address the opioid crisis. It involved the participation of 1,400 people from across New York.
Prevalence of opioid addiction in US
Despite the measures like limiting prescriptions to three-day supplies, and educating masses about dangers of opioids, lack of individual participation and reluctance to seek drug addiction treatment has forced the efforts to fall flat. Adding to the woes are the inaccessibility and dearth of proper facilities that further deter people from seeking treatment.
The opioid crisis is a real problem in the country that needs to be dealt with sternly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 115 people succumb to opioid overdoses every day.
Obstacles in taming opioid addiction
Several factors have helped the opioid epidemic grow stubborn. Lack of awareness, an inadequate number of addiction treatment centers, and private insurers shying away from providing cover for the condition are some of the prominent constraints. Besides, there are other general barriers such as stigma and expense worries that further prevent addicted people from undergoing drug abuse rehabilitation program. Also, non-availability of affordable rehab centers in rural areas has made it tough for countryside people to seek addiction treatment.
Owing to its widespread prevalence and the existing barriers, eradicating or even curbing the threat is a herculean task. However, implementation of drug policies in the right direction can effectively pull down the soaring rates of addiction. Besides, seeking drug addiction treatment at the earliest can prove as the most effective step in fighting the menace.
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