Leading Pain Doctors' Society: Rx Drug Abuse Exploding Over Past Decade

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ASIPP Works to Raise Awareness of Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

In addition to educating physicians, patients must be informed about the dangers of overmedicating, which can lead to a potentially fatal overdose

According to alarming new research from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, prescription drug abuse surged 400 percent from 1998-2008. The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP), a leading medical society dedicated to safe Interventional Pain Management (IPM) techniques, is using National Pain Awareness Month as an opportunity to highlight the lethal problem of prescription drug abuse in the United States and its escalation over the past decade.

“Poor clinician training, a general lack of appreciation of the risks with these medications, and inadequate or poor coordination of prescription monitoring programs are all contributing to a national prescription drug abuse epidemic that unfortunately continues to spiral out of control,” said Dr. David Kloth, national spokesman, board member and past president of ASIPP. “The numbers are completely staggering.”

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, nearly 7 million Americans are abusing prescription drugs — more than the number abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy, and inhalants combined. Additionally, 25% of drug-related emergency room visits are now associated with abuse of prescription drugs.

Since its inception over 10 years ago, ASIPP has pushed for tougher drug monitoring, training and testing on a national level. ASIPP has suggested to FDA that one solution would be for all physicians who prescribe pain medications, particularly C-2 opioids, to become certified and trained in proper drug administration. Additionally, ASIPP has proposed new legislation for an updated National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER) bill which would provide additional state funding for prescription monitoring programs and which also calls for improved coordination and exchangeability of information amongst the states to help stem this tide of rampant prescription drug abuse.

”In addition to educating physicians, patients must be informed about the dangers of overmedicating, which can lead to a potentially fatal overdose,” added Kloth. “The high-profile drug abuse-related deaths of Brittany Murphy and Michael Jackson shed a very real light on this issue, but it isn’t only celebrities who are affected; ordinary people throughout the country are dying from the improper use of drugs like OxyContin, Xanax, Methadone and Vicoden every day. Unfortunately, many people feel that because these medications are legal that they are safer than street drugs like heroin, but this is untrue and many Americans, sadly many of them very young, have died because of this misconception. Approximately 20,000 Americans died last year from drug overdose; it is important that we bring these numbers down.”

To further prevent misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, ASIPP is supporting the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s first-ever nationwide “Take-Back” initiative. On Saturday, September 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law enforcement agencies will set up collection sites in local communities nationwide. Americans are encouraged to dispose of any old or unwanted medications through this free, safe and anonymous program.

To find a qualified pain management physician in your area go to http://www.asippmembersite.org/Search/Search.php

About The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians
ASIPP’s mission statement is to promote the development and practice of safe, high quality, cost-effective Interventional Pain Management techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of pain and related disorders, and to ensure patient access to these interventions. Founded in 1998 by Chairman of the Board and CEO Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD, ASIPP is a rapidly growing not-for-profit organization that supports the needs of physicians who practice Interventional Pain Management across the country.

Since its inception, the organization has had substantial impact on the practice of Interventional Pain Medicine, resulting in an impressive list of major achievements. In 2005, ASIPP succeeded in passing The National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER), which provides and improves patient access to quality care, and protects patients and physicians from the deleterious effects of controlled substance misuse, abuse and trafficking. ASIPP is headquartered in Paducah, KY and currently has 4,500 members. For more information, visit http://www.asipp.org or call 270.554.9412. Ext. 215

Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Press Release: New Data Reveal 400% Increase in Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions for People Abusing Prescription Drugs.” Accessed August 27, 2010. http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/news/press10/071510.html.

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Adam Mazur
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