Unfortunately, America has the dubious distinction of being number one in something we should not be proud of. We are #1 market share for Vicodin (type of hydrocodone pain prescription).
Wow- why is that? Are we that much in pain compared to the rest of the world? Are we just wimps and simply can’t stand pain?
Of course, as with most complicated issues, this issue has multiple causative factors, but the overuse of prescription pain killers and the destruction it can cause is a real and present fact.
So much so that now, the most prescribed pain killer (Vicodin, norco, etc) and it’s derivatives will be on higher prescription security. It will be the same process now to get this prescription as it is for the traditionally “stronger” narcotics like Morphine, Dilaudid and Fentanyl.
The patient will have to come in for a hand written secure prescription that has been recorded in 2 different logs, data sent to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and must see the doctor every 6 months at the very least and submit to random drug testing to make sure the medication is actually in your system.
Remember that these painkillers are highly addictive, highly lucrative and previously relatively cheap and easy to obtain. It was traditionally harder to get antibiotics than prescription pain medications from most doctors as we were riding the wave of better “pain control and treatment” the last 30 years.
Now, we are dealing with the overuse, over dependence and the inappropriate dispersion of prescription pain medications.
Honestly, I don’t know if these new regulations of requiring doctors to be certified in pain treatment, get special pain conference credits and the new mandate of higher levels of prescription protocol will help offset this problem.
But I know that it will make it more inconvenient and perhaps make both health provider and patient think twice about using them.