Reforms to Curb the Prescription Opioid Epidemic


Statistics about the prescription opioid epidemic in America are grim to say the least. While efforts to curb the crisis in recent years have proven somewhat effective, people continue to lose their lives every day from prescription opioid overdoses. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than 16,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses in 2013. Since 1999, opioid sales have increased 300 percent and the number of overdoses has quadrupled. Every day, 44 people lose their life to prescription opioid overdoses.

With most problems, it is best to look at the source when attempting to find solutions. The reality is that many physicians are not trained in pain management, yet general practitioners write the bulk of prescriptions for opioids. There is a great need for medical students to be trained in proper prescribing practices, spotting signs of abuse, and addiction medicine. Doing so will reduce overprescribing, help addicts find help and ultimately save lives.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have issued recommendations designed to mitigate the prescription opioid epidemic, ScienceDaily reports. The new report was created by professionals from medicine, pharmacy, injury prevention and law.

The report calls for:

  • Medical students and physicians to be trained.
  • Prescriptions to be dispensed and monitored.
  • First responders to be equipped with naloxone.
  • People with addiction to be identified and treated.

“What’s important about these recommendations is that they cover the entire supply chain, from training doctors to working with pharmacies and the pharmaceuticals themselves, as well as reducing demand by mobilizing communities and treating people addicted to opioids,” says Andrea Gielen, ScD, ScM director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Bloomberg School and one of the report’s signatories. “Not only are the recommendations comprehensive, they were developed with input from a wide range of stakeholders, and wherever possible draw from evidence-based research.”


If you are or a loved one is abusing prescription drugs, please contact Harmony Foundation to begin the journey of recovery. Harmony is a state-of-the-art, affordable, residential addiction treatment program located in the Rocky Mountains.