We see it in the news almost daily. Prescription drug abuse. Just recently, we saw a weeks-long trial of two pain doctors accused of over-prescribing pain medications to patients. Tonight, Sean Fearns with the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA spoke at the Exploreum about the topic. He says for the most part, pain doctors are doing their job.
“Look, there’s a lot of chronic pain that needs to be managed, but it’s also true that you may not need 30 days’ supply of pill when you get your wisdom teeth taken out,” says Fearns.
It’s the fastest growing drug trend. Fearns says we’ve lost tens of thousands of Americans to pain pill overdoses. And it’s not just those who have addictive personalities.
“It’s like playing Russian roulette. Anybody who doesn’t follow their doctor’s instructions or the instructions on the pill bottle have the potential for getting addicted,” says Fearns.
And it’s an epidemic where everyone has a level of responsibility not to let it get out of hand.
“Pharmaceutical companies being responsible in the amount of product they’re putting out, doctors really paying attention to not only what they’re prescribing to their patient, but also what that patient might be getting from other sources, to the pharmacist who controls that medicine bottle before it leaves to go to the home and then to mom and dad who are, again, in control of the medicine cabinet, to the young people who say, oh it’s made in America, it’s a pill, how bad could it be, when in fact opioids are quite addicting,” says Fearns.
He says the number one thing parents and those in the community can do is take their unused medications out of the medicine cabinet and hand it over to police and those who collect them to get them off the streets—even if you don’t have children. People break into homes all the time and will check medicine cabinets for these pills. Also, if you know someone who may have a problem, there are many places in town with resources that can help.