Nearly a dozen hospitals in New Jersey find other means of treating patients saying goodbye to opioid painkillers. It’s known for quite some time that the nationwide heroin epidemic is a result of the vast over-prescription of opioid painkillers. Because addiction rates continue to rise and increasing pressure on physicians, hospitals are now stepping up to do their part.
More than half of heroin addiction cases reportedly begin with an introduction to narcotic pharmaceutical medications. Additionally, many of these fated introductions take place in hospital settings.
Opioid Painkillers in Hospitals
Generally, the painkillers most frequently used in emergency rooms across the country are Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycodone. All of these medications have a long history of life-threatening abuse. Because of the high potential of abuse, physicians must take precautions before prescribing the medicines. Also, it is widespread for heroin addicts to start with painkillers, usually to treat temporary pain initially.
In New Jersey, St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center has become increasingly aware of this issue. As a result, they recently began a program to manage the pain of its patients without opioid painkillers. Since starting the program, the hospital has inspired other prevention initiatives. For example, CVS has begun limiting opioid prescriptions to 7 days. As a result, they are the first drug chain restricting prescriptions, which parallels the changes New Jersey is making.
Significant Strides in the War on Opiate Addiction
Dr. Rosenberg, the head of the emergency department at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, admits that the issue of over-prescription hits very close to home.
His 93-year old mother-in-law went to a local emergency department after breaking her wrist. She received potent narcotics from the emergency room and followed up with her family doctor. Additionally, the family physician prescribed an additional 100 Percocets. Does a 93-year-old woman need 100 Percocet for an injured wrist? Probably not.
In 2012, there were enough opioid painkillers prescriptions (nearly 260 million prescriptions in total) to give every American adult their very own bottle of high-potency pills.
Generally, opioid painkillers are crucial in treating some chronic pain-related conditions. For example, these medications provide pain relief in cancer treatments. It is not realistic for all emergency rooms to eliminate the use of opioid narcotics. Additionally, they are legitimate physical ailments that require these strong medications that help patients. However, increasing awareness and a cessation of gross overprescribing certainly seems like the right place to start.
Phase 1 of Reducing Opioids in the ER
While this is a long-term process, hospitals in New Jersey are setting an example for the rest of the country. The goal is to reduce patients discharged from emergency rooms with opioid prescriptions to 12 percent or less. Previously, the rate of patients discharged with opioid prescriptions was 17%.
Generally, hospitals will send patients with suggestions for non-opioid drugs, including over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Both OTC drugs can be equally effective at treating some pain without the addictive side effects.
Opiate Addiction Recovery is Possible
Due to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, federal grants are available to both local governments and state governments to combat what has become a national epidemic.
Additionally, on a smaller scale, personal awareness is vital. So, if you receive painkillers, take a look at whether you need them. Just because a medical professional prescribes a narcotic opioid does not necessarily mean that it is essential to your recovery. Caution is primarily a concern for those with a history of substance abuse. Additionally, individuals that have a family history of addiction should take further precautions.
Finding Opioid Painkillers Addiction Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid painkiller addiction, seek help today. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our core mission is to help you. Thus, by providing comprehensive treatment programs, together, we can find the best treatment course to ensure your recovery. Don’t let addiction get the best of you. Get started today and reach out for support and assistance, our team members will guide you through our different addiction treatment programs to help you find the best one for you.