The NCPA recently wrote to the U.S. House of Representatives and encouraged them to pass a bill that would make great strides in reducing the number of Americans misusing prescription drugs. Suncoast Rehab backs the NCPA in their efforts, and says that communities must take it one step further in fighting this epidemic.
(Spring Hill, FL) September 3, 2014—One in four Americans are affected by prescription drug abuse. (1) This growing national epidemic kills more people annually than both cocaine and heroin combined. (2) In light of these findings, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has written a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives detailing their support of a bill that would help reduce prescription drug abuse. The purpose of this bill, entitled the “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2014,” would be to enforce efforts for diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. Suncoast Rehabilitation Center (http://www.suncoastrehabcenter.com/?kmas=324) supports the NCPA in their backing of this bill, and advises communities to develop stronger prescription drug monitoring programs. (3)
The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2014 (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr4709/text) will work to “balance improved enforcement efforts with patient access through a collaborative discussion between key players,” such as drug manufacturers, wholesalers, community pharmacies, federal enforcement and oversight agencies. (3) The bill aims to ensure restriction of the drugs from falling into the wrong hands, while still allowing legitimate access to the millions of Americans with chronic pain. Suncoast CEO Tammy Strickling supports both the NCPA and the US House of Representatives in the passing of this bill.
“Finding an effective solution that ensures limited diversion of prescription drugs and their intended uses is much like walking a tightrope,” says Strickling. “The restriction has to be moderate enough to keep it from those who will misuse it, while still being flexible enough to tend to the growing number of those who legitimately need the medication to alleviate pain.”
Strickling maintains the importance of developing and enforcing effective prescription drug monitoring programs. When working with robust electronic databases, improper prescribing behaviors and people with high risk of abuse can be identified at a much more accurate rate. (4)
Suncoast backs the NCPA in all of their following suggestions to reduce prescription drug abuse: (3)
â— Enforce prescriber education
State medical licensing boards should make continuing education of pain management a requirement of licensures or license renewals.
â— Simpler verification methods
Methods should be put in place that makes it easier for a pharmacist to verify whether a prescriber registration is still valid, because at this time, this can be unclear to pharmacy staff.
â— Develop prescription drug monitoring programs
High-tech electronic databases will not only keep track of trends and high-risk individuals, they will detect improper prescribing behavior.
Suncoast also maintains the responsibility that patients hold in avoiding prescription drug abuse. Patients have a right to informed consent and should make sure of the following:
â— Ask your doctor about what each medication does and its side effects. Be sure to completely understand the drug’s effects in order to make an educated decision about the best course of action.
â— If you are taking a medication, only take your own prescription, not a friend’s or a family member’s.
â— Only take the recommended dosage of your medication.
Suncoast treats patients who have found themselves unwittingly addicted to Rx drugs—ranging from teenagers to geriatrics—and will continue to stand up against drug abuse and advocate for stricter laws related to this issue.
To learn more about the Suncoast Rehabilitation Center and its rehab programs, visit www.suncoastrehabcenter.com.
1. “Prescription Drug Abuse Affects One in Four of Americans.” Prescription Drug Abuse Affects One in Four of Americans. The Pharma Letter, 08 May 2014. Web. 11 Aug. 2014. thepharmaletter.com/article/prescription-drug-abuse-affects-one-in-four-of-americans.
2. Warrick, Dr. “Limit Abuse, Not Legitimate Use, of Prescription Drugs.” Moultrie News. N.p., 16 July 2014. Web. 07 Aug. 2014. moultrienews.com/‌article/‌20140716/‌MN01/‌140719822/1016.
3. Oldfield, Eileen. “NCPA Letter Expresses Support for Bill to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse.” NCPA Letter Expresses Support for Bill to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse. Pharmacy Times, 06 Aug. 2014. Web. 07 Aug. 2014. pharmacytimes.com/news/NCPA-Letter-Expresses-Support-for-Bill-to-Reduce-Prescription-Drug-Abuse?utm_source=GoogleNews&utm_medium=‌GoogleNews&utm_campaign=PharmacyTimesNews.
4. NCPA. “News Releases—2014.” NCPA Offers Justice Department Suggestions on Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse While Protecting Patients. NCPA, 16 May 2014. Web. 07 Aug. 2014. ncpanet.org/newsroom/news-releases/2014/05/16/ncpa-offers-justice-department-suggestions-on-fighting-prescription-drug-abuse-while-protecting-patients.