A new scorecard of how states are adopting tactics to reduce prescription drug addiction and overdose deaths concludes that many have not fully embraced some key tools.
Only two states – New Mexico and Vermont – have adopted all 10 laws and policies considered helpful toward ending an epidemic that affects at least 6 million people, according to the survey released Monday by the non-profit Trust for America’s Health.
According to the report Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic, Oklahoma has the fifth highest drug overdose mortality rate, but the state showed signs in its efforts to curb prescription drug abuse. Click on the image below to read more key findings about Oklahoma in the report. Mobile users should click this link http://bit.ly/ok2013data.
“This requires a combined approach, there isn’t a magic bullet solve this problem,’’ said Jeff Levi, executive director of the group.
With 50 Americans dying from prescription drug overdoses every day and with just 10 percent of people battling addiction getting treatment, “This is a very real epidemic, and warrants a strong public health response. We must use the best lessons we know from other public health and injury prevention success stories,’’ said Andrea Gielen, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy.
Among the findings:
All but one state – Missouri – have a prescription drug monitoring program that can help identify “doctor-shopping” patients, problem prescribers and people with addiction problems. But only 16 states require all medical providers to use the systems.
And while 44 states allow prescribing information to be shared with providers in neighboring states, patient drug histories are not automatically shared – doctors and others must ask for the information. Levi said the prescription records would be more easily shared and helpful if they could be merged with electronic patient health records, but that those systems, while growing, are still far from complete.
Fewer than half the states –22 – have laws that require special addiction prevention education for doctors and others who prescribe prescription pain medication.
Only 32 states have laws requiring or permitting a pharmacist to see photo identification of a patient before dispensing a controlled drug.
Just over a third of the states – 17 – have laws providing some immunity from prosecution for individuals seeking help for themselves or others experiencing an overdose. The same number have a law in place to allow non-professionals access and use of naxolone – a prescription drug that can be used to counteract an overdose.
The entire report on strategies and state-by-state data and rankings can be found at http://www.tfah.org/reports/drugabuse2013/
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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