While it appears that we’re still in the midst of an epidemic of opiate/opioid addiction, it looks as if more and more people are becoming aware of this epidemic. More and more parties are joining the battle to fight it.
Government is providing some of this help. For example, in December, 2017, the lieutenant governor of Michigan, Brian Calley, signed legislation that requires doctors to check a state-operated online database before they prescribe drugs such as opiates. The law also
- Requires an actual doctor-patient relationship for the prescription of such drugs.
- Limits how many opiates doctors can prescribe.
- Mandates that people who receive treatment for overdoses receive information about drug and alcohol treatment.
Michigan legislators hope that these efforts will stem the tide of addiction in Michigan. Michigan is not alone with such drug and alcohol struggles, of course. Addiction to opiate/opioid drugs is common across the United States and even around the world. Opioid overdoses kill about 69,000 people every year, according to statistics released in 2014 by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Michigan’s efforts join similar efforts across the United States. Many other states and counties within those states have similar databases that track drugs such as opioids/opiates and how they’re used.
Such efforts can help curb practices such as doctor shopping, a practice in which people travel from doctor to doctor to obtain additional prescriptions and additional drugs from each one.
The efforts also require people to meet with doctors face-to-face. Doing so will allow doctors to check on their patients’ prescriptions histories. It also gives doctors a chance to determine the health of these patients. They can see if their patients need medication for pain or if they’re asking for the drugs because they’re suffering from an addiction.
Such efforts might not be foolproof. But they show a growing awareness of addiction and the power of opiates/opioids. They also illustrate a willingness to help.
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