Although it may come as a surprise to some people, doctors and physicians did not always prescribe heavy narcotics to manage pain. Prior to the painkiller trend that began in the nineties, doctors would often expect patients to try a number of alternative therapies before relying on heavy narcotics.
Changing one’s diet, increasing exercise, or physical or occupational therapy were often suggested by doctors when attempting to manage a patient’s pain level, possibly in combination with some over-the-counter pain relievers. These options are still available to patients, yet doctors now days have become reliant upon addictive narcotics to cover up the pain. Many people are asking why this is the case, especially as the death toll from prescription painkiller overdose continues to rise.
Some doctors point out that there are other factors that prevent them from prescribing alternatives to pain medication. Insurance plans readily pay for painkillers, but they may not pay for preventative or therapeutic therapy as easily as they cover prescription drugs.
Patients also may express that they do not have the time or the money to partake in these alternative solutions to their pain. Physicians are also resistant to using the monitoring system, stating that it takes too much time to enter the information and consult prior to writing prescriptions. Most physicians only get paid for the procedures they perform, consulting the monitoring tool takes up valuable time and money for most doctors. This is a sad statement of the condition of mainstream healthcare. Patients’ well-being takes a backseat to profits.
While some of these may be valid problems that physicians are facing at times, not everyone is buying into the excuses. “It’s physicians and medical professionals, not law-enforcement agents, who can have one of the biggest impacts on ending this prescription-drug crisis in New Jersey. As powerful as it is, the NJPMP will not fulfill its potential to fight drug diversion until a significant majority of doctors register and consult it regularly when prescribing opiate painkillers and other controlled medications,” explained Steve Lee of the State Division of Consumer Affairs in New Jersey.
Clearly the problem isn’t isolated to only one state, as prescription drug addiction has become a nationwide epidemic. Conscious decisions from healthcare providers can help make a tremendous change in preventing substance abuse problems with painkillers and other medications.