The Ultimate Guide to Prescription Drug Abuse

The Ultimate Guide to Prescription Drug Abuse: The Problems and Solutions

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  • LEARN MORE  about how every 4 minutes someone is sent to treatment
  • HELP STOP  doctor shopping and diversion
  • DISCOVER  how the current administration says it will reduce drug use by 15%

The Role of Pharmacists in Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

Pharmacists dispense medications and can help patients understand instructions for taking them.

By being watchful for prescription falsifications or alterations, pharmacists can serve as the first line of defense in recognizing prescription drug abuse.

Some pharmacies have developed hotlines to alert other pharmacies in the region when a fraudulent prescription is detected.

Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), which require physicians and pharmacists to log each filled prescription into a State database, can assist medical professionals in identifying patients who are getting prescriptions from multiple sources.

Moreover, pharmacists must be vigilant about errors that can occur either from medical mistakes by the physician, a miscommunication between hospital and pharmacy, or a scheming patient who is trying to trick the pharmacist.

They are always be on the lookout for issues that may arise and put their licenses, as well as their pharmacies, in danger.  These issues could include:pharmacist

  • duplicate prescriptions
  • doctor shopping (poly-doctor and poly-pharmacy)
  • drug-drug interactions
  • early medication refills
  • excessive pill counts
  • lack of medical necessity
  • false identifications

To ensure optimal patient outcomes, it is critical that pharmacists have accurate medication history, disease-state information, and provider information for each prescription at their fingertips.

ScriptGuard improves pharmacy work by bridging the communication gap between inpatient and outpatient pharmacy settings.

Here are 4 ways that ScriptGuard can protect a pharmacy:

  • Real-time patient activity report

ScriptGuard eliminates the guesswork, liability, and time required to accurately review a patient’s medication history. Pharmacies need real-time medication and diagnostic information to know the most current list of medications a patient has filled in the past 90 days. ScriptGuard provides that.

  • Risk assessment

The ScriptGuard system will automatically notify a pharmacist if a customer is a risk for doctor shopping or possibly medication abuse.  This enables them to make more informed decisions when dispensing prescriptions.

  • Provider validation

ScriptGuard performs a real-time provider validation that analyzes the prescribing capabilities of all licensed prescribers (MD, DO, NP, PA), which allows pharmacists to avoid heavy fines for filling prescriptions by doctors with expired or invalid credentials. This can also reduce their professional liability.

  • Improved patient safety and treatment outcomes

By avoiding hand written patient lists, relying on an impaired patient’s memory, or endless calls to varied physicians and treating doctors,  pharmacies are free to immediately address patient care. The elimination of wasted time and hours allows them to do their jobs properly and efficiently, and improve the customer experience as well.


Alarming Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics

We all need to be better educated.

Prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs are dangerous when used illegally.

We need to do a better job of understanding the risks associated with prescription drug abuse and prescribing habits.

We need to understand that the issue is costing the healthcare system over $2 billion annually.

More importantly, parents need to be aware of these facts and understand the risks facing their teenage children.

The truth is, prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs, when used improperly.

Consider these alarming facts, taken from Department of Health of New York State:

  • 4.5 million American kids have reported that they’ve abused prescription drugs.
  • 2.1 million American kids have intentionally abused cough syrup.
  • Half of teens do not see a great risk in abusing prescription (Rx) drugs.
  • Over half of teens agree prescription drugs are easier to get than illegal drugs.
  • The primary source is their parents’ medicine cabinet, a friend’s house, or the Internet.
  • 1 in 3 teens report having a close friend who abuses Rx pain relievers to get high.
  • 1 in 4 teens report having a close friend who abuses cough medicine to get high.
  • Only 31% of teens “learn a lot about the risk of drugs” from their parents.
  • Emergency room visits due to abuse of prescription drugs are more than the number of visits due to all street drugs combined.

(Taken from source)

Based on their statistics, it appears that the most commonly abused drug is Vicodin, the powerful and addictive narcotic pain reliever.  1 in 5 teens has admitted to trying Vicodin, while 1 in 10 teens admitted to trying OxyContin.  Another 1 in 10 has admitted to using the stimulants Ritalin and Adderall, for purposes other than prescribed.

Education and awareness starts at the home. We should all know the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and do what we can to prevent it in the first place.


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