The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is calling for stricter standards on prescribing opioids. These standards would make expanded training available for doctors and nurses who administer these products.
The commissioner said:
“It’s time to take direct action to address the close to 200 million opioid analgesic prescriptions each year that are for the immediate release products. The new training will be aimed at making sure providers who write prescriptions for the IR opioids are doing so for properly indicated patients, and under appropriate clinical circumstances.”
The training for healthcare personnel will broaden their knowledge of non-drug and non-opioid approaches for treating pain.
The commissioner also said:
“The potential for abuse doesn’t necessarily correlate with the potential for addiction. Patients can still become addicted to opioid products with abuse-deterrent features. We need to make sure these different risks are fully understood.”
Dr. Gottlieb said that doctors and dentists are writing way too many prescriptions for opioids. People who have undergone minor procedures do not need 30-day prescriptions of opioids. Sometimes, the drug companies pressure doctors to prescribe these drugs no matter what they think their patients actually need. I was once given 5-days of opioids for getting my ear stitched up. It’s ridiculous.
People are abusing these medicines and dying. We need to find new ways to treat pain. Prescribing these drugs is obviously not working. People are getting addicted to them and abusing them. On the other side of things, some doctors will stop these medicines when people are physically addicted without letting them taper off. Then, these people turn to the streets for more because they are physically addicted. Our editor, JC Torpey, said:
“This is exactly what happened to me. I was told “no more” instead of being properly treated for the withdrawal they knew I’d experience. I tried to taper off of it myself and bought some from a friend. And thus it began.”
“After the tapering didn’t work, I tried cold turkey. Then a 30-day rehab session. Ultimately, it was entering a Suboxone maintenance program that helped me. And I’m still in that program eight years later.”
Dr. Gottlieb also said the commissioner would consider legal action for doctors who prescribe drugs that have greater risks than benefits. They are also considering adding stronger warning labels to the bottles of opioids. Also, the warning labels don’t mean shit once you are already addicted to the drug.
I’m glad to see that the FDA is wanting to do something about the opioid epidemic. However, this is just a start. Basically, we should be avoiding prescribing the opiates, to begin with. We should deal with the over-prescribing and excess. We also need proper treatment for those that are trying to get off of these drugs as well to prevent them from going to the streets for more.
Featured image via Twitter.