Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse and misuse is serious problem in Colorado and around the United States. In 2010, more than 38,000 people died from a drug overdose in the United States – one every 14 minutes. Nearly 60 percent of those deaths involved prescription drugs and, of those, 75 percent were opioid painkillers. In Colorado, the number of drug overdose deaths range from 250-500 per year; in 2010 it was just over 300.
The rates of misuse and overdose death cut across all demographics, though they’re highest among men, persons ages 20-64, non-Hispanic whites, and those in poor and rural areas.
A small percentage of providers prescribe the majority of controlled substances but providers who do prescribe these medications frequently inherently see more higher-risk patients and are more likely to have patients who are doctor shopping for opioids.
Colorado is working to develop a coordinated response among the many stakeholders. Colorado Medical Society leaders actively participate in the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and support the Colorado Board of Pharmacy’s efforts to enhance the Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) system.
Check back often for more resources related to physicians and prescription drug abuse, misuse and prevention.
Links and resources
- Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention - The Consortium was created in the fall of 2013 to establish a coordinated, statewide response to prescription drug abuse. Their mission is to reduce the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs in the state of Colorado through improvements in education, public outreach, research, safe disposal, and treatment. The goal of these efforts is to prevent 92,000 Coloradans from misusing opioids by 2016.
- Take Meds Seriously public awareness campaign
- Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) - The PDMP provides a secure database of controlled substance prescriptions that have been dispensed by Colorado pharmacies and from nonresident pharmacies that dispense prescriptions and ship them into Colorado. The PDMP provides practitioners and pharmacists with immediate access to a patient’s history of controlled substance prescriptions 24/7. This information can then be used to help make the best treatment decisions possible for the patient.
- Providers’ Clinical Support System For Opioid Therapies - PCSS-O is a national training and mentoring project developed in response to the prescription opioid overdose epidemic. The consortium of major stakeholders and constituency groups with interests in safe and effective use of opioid medications offers extensive experience in the treatment of substance use disorders and specifically, opioid dependence treatment, as well as the interface of pain and opioid misuse. PCSS-O makes available at no cost educational programs on the safe and effective use of opioids for treatment of chronic pain and safe and effective treatment of opioid use disorder.
The final word: The opioid epidemic: Let’s keep working
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Case study: Swedish Medical Center is reducing opioid use in the emergency department
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