Prescription Drug Abuse Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3509 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs

Measures that have been undertaken thus far are the aforementioned laws banning not having a drug in the bottle it was issued in, making giving out of drugs a felony and so forth. Other drugs, including many over-the-counter drugs are tracked and must be sold, literally, over the counter by a pharmacist even though a prescription is not required (such as any drug with pseudoephedrine) and those purchase are often tracked by the state to ensure that too much of that drug or other precursors for methamphetamine or other drugs are not bought abusively. Age restrictions on over-the-counter medications are used as well (Garcia, 2013).

Another step that has been taken is the more heavy regulation and control of pain-management clinics that have been seen as a rubber-stamp way for people to get painkillers from "legal" sources. States that have been focused on the most are Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee and West Virginia. Clinics in those states are required to maintain databases and make sure that a patient has not gotten similar or the same drug at another clinic in too short a time period. Limitations on the dosage and frequency of prescriptions being renewed is another tactic that has been used, such as in the state of Washington. Since the epidemic of the pill abuse epidemic is still in some ways in its nascent stages and the reactionary countermeasures are evne more so, it will take some time to see what effects, good or bad, these efforts will have on preventing the over-use and abuse of prescription drugs (Garcia, 2013).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Prescription Drug Abuse Assignment

As noted earlier, the use of public outreach and educational campaigns has worked wonders with teenagers and the same could and should be said of the same efforts with adults. Much like similar campaigns for things like battling obesity, it should be laid bare that the use of prescription drugs in non-medical applications can kill and/or ruin lives due to things like felony convictions and other extremely bad outcomes. Child custody can be stripped, people can go to jail and people can become junkies overnight given the wrong circumstances and outcomes. There is some good news, however. The use of pill identifier phone numbers and websites has encountered extremely heavy use and this is a good thing. Social workers fielded a total of more than 17,000 calls over a twenty month period. The average caller was 33 years old and Caucasian but the overall pool of people calling spanned all races and from the age of 18 to 93. More than a third of the calls helped to identify and prevent problems with drug overdoses or interactions due to poly-drug use. Resources for obtaining treatment of any source were delivered to just over a fifth of the callers. However, the battle is still in full swing and the drug use is currently winning as the amount of fatal drug overdoses jumped from 4000 in 1999 to 13,800 in 2006. However, the fact that were over a million calls to United States poison control centers in 2009 is a good thing as it is clear that people are indeed trying to make a strong effort overall to remain safe while still using their drugs as needed and with the proper amount of care and foresight (Doyon et al., 2013).

However, other research lays bare that may patients are not trying to be careful and are lying in a brazen fashion to doctors and other health professionals as a means to get multiple prescriptions for their drug of choice. The aforementioned use of databases can be used to fetter out whether a prospective or current patient is lying. The state-wide or even nation-wide tracking of what drugs a person has gotten and when can make it clear when a patient is trying to game the system and get drugs for abuse-related purposes. However, it is not just patients that are part of the problem as many doctors either do not do enough investigation before prescribing drugs and/or they are basically a rubber stamp that people use to get drugs when they really do not need them and a quick investigation of the patient's symptoms and drug history would easily disqualify them from getting more drugs. The main tactic to undertake is to use records and databases to trip up a patient that is clearly using deceit and deception to get more drugs through ostensibly legal means. One of the major tools used to combat this abuse are prescription drug monitoring programs, often referred to as PDMP's. The drugs are tracked based on what "schedule" they are with schedule five being the least risky and schedule one being very rife with potential abuse. However, schedule one drugs would always be illegal drugs such as heroin, ecstasy and LSD. The highest legal drugs on the scale would be schedule two drugs like stimulants (Adderall, Ritalin, etc.) and pain killers such as Oxycontin. Dilaudid and Demerol are also on the list. Schedule three drugs include Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine, Suboxone, steroids and such. Drugs such as lorazepam, diazepam sleeping pills and cough suppressants are actually pretty far down the list but are possible sources of abuse as well (Worley, 2012).

The presence of "data silos" is a condition where the data to prevent abuse if were simply organized and/or shared is quite common. Basically, all of the information necessary to stay ahead of drug peddlers and abusers is out there but it is often not made available to practitioners and/or is not required to be used. As such, doctors that are not required to be more dililgent and careful are not doing so and/or they are not allowed/permitted to do so. Either way, drugs end up getting to people that should nto be getting them either because they do not have a condition that requires the drug and/or they are using the drug or drugs in an unapproved way. However, efforts are getting better. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that they have a database called ARCOS that has 30 million transactions running through it every year, with a focus being applied to schedule I and II drugs in particular being the main things tracked and schedule I always being illegal (Traynor, 2012)(Schacther, 2012).


Striking a balance between allowing people to get the treatment they need while at the same preventing abuse is often pretty clear-cut. However, there definitely shades of gray that have to be known and respected. For example, a person who comes home from war with a damaged spine may very well get patched enough to walk and function but they will be in some amount of pain, if not a lot of pain, all of their life. As such, narcotic pain killers are necessary or at least optimal to care for that. However, the problem with that is that narcotic painkillers users often build up a resistance over time and getting them off that high and onto a drug that actually takes effect well can be difficult to impossible and the patient suffers when a switch is made. It is not all that different from an alcohol user that has to drink more and more to get the same effect but the difference with a painkiller is that the drug is necessary on some level at least some of the time. As such, while cutting someone off cold turkey is not an option, it is also not wise just let them have what they want. A moderate and varied approach is necessary to keep pain to a minimum while not allowing addiction and over-use to take hold.

However, a lot of people that are using and abusing narcotic and other addictive drugs are not nearly as valorous or honest. Quite often, people just want their fix and will lie to and deceive anyone that stands in the way of that including family, friends, nurses, doctors and others. To deal with such people, the use of databases and other tracking is necessary. While some may say this reeks of "Big Brother," relying on the honesty of the people in the system is simply not an option and doing so really endangers the public in the form of people getting drugs illegally when it easily could have been prevented with just a cursory amount of research and due diligence. In addition, people using drugs in a thoughtful and on an "as needed" basis will not have any problem getting the drugs they need a lot of the time. Some misunderstandings can occur, but many to most of those can be avoided with a little planning and realization of what appearances can occur, even if unintentional, if drugs are not purchases or procured in the right way. Stockpiling of drugs and/or purchasing over-the-counter drugs for someone else may seem thoughtful, but it can be dangerous in many case and can raise red flags even if no ill intent or illegal behavior is going on. For example, someone buying… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Prescription Drug Abuse" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Prescription Drug Abuse.  (2014, March 6).  Retrieved October 1, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Prescription Drug Abuse."  6 March 2014.  Web.  1 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Prescription Drug Abuse."  March 6, 2014.  Accessed October 1, 2020.