More than 20,000 Americans die from prescription drug abuse every year, The New York Times reports. That's more lives than heroin and cocaine claim combined. Here at Fairwinds Treatment Center we have a front row perspective on just how devastating painkiller dependency can be for both individuals and their loved ones. In an effort to curb the addiction epidemic that is sweeping our nation, federal officials are tightening safety regulations governing the use of hydrocodone, the most commonly prescribed painkiller, which is found in drugs like Vicodin.
Here are some major upcoming changes under the new Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rules:
- Doctors will no longer be allowed to call in hydrocodone prescriptions over the phone.
- Pharmacies will not allow refills on existing prescriptions.
- Patients who need another prescription will need to make another appointment with a medical professional.
- Pharmacies will have to lock drugs that contain hydrocodone in special secure vaults to prevent theft and abuse.
"Almost seven million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents," DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a press release. "Today's action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available."
The new rules will go into effect in early October. While we at Fairwinds certainly hope that they prove effective at curbing prescription drug abuse, of course, only time will tell. Ultimately, we believe that no policy change can totally eradicate addiction, since substance abuse is so often caused by undiagnosed, underlying psychological, mental and emotional problems, rather than just the availability of a drug.
That's why Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef uses his unique dual diagnosis methodology to address both patients' substance abuse and any concurrent conditions like anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder that may have triggered or contributed to their addictions. Dr. El-Yousef and his staff combine clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling to promote a lasting recovery. Call Fairwinds Treatment Center to learn more.