While great strides have been made in the U.S. as far as addressing the growing opioid overdose epidemic, more is certainly needed to curb the huge number of deaths that are seen each year due to this fatal practice. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that around 28,000 Americans die each year from drug overdose, which averages 80 individuals per day. The federal government must find a way to decrease these deaths, which often occur from drugs that are regularly prescribed in a doctor’s office.
New Laws Regarding Warnings on Addictive Substance
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration passed a law requiring opioid manufacturers to include stronger warnings in their boxes regarding co-prescribing with benzodiazepines. Because benzodiazepines also cause drowsiness and lethargy, their side effects can be magnified when used with opioids, leading to increased risk for death. While this is an admirable step to protect people who will be prescribed opioids in the future, it does not seem to do enough to address the numerous people already taking these dangerous drugs.
[su_note note_color=”#F0F0F0″]More changes than this are certainly needed to make a lasting difference in this country. What the United States needs is increased prescribing and usage of a drug called Naloxone, also known as Narcan, which is used as the antidote to opioid overdose. One of the best options would be co-prescription of Naloxone with any opioid to give the patient as well as friends and family members easy options for quick home treatment in the case of an overdose.[/su_note]
Dangers & Risks of Overdose
Besides decreasing fatalities from opioid overdoses at home, this increased usage and awareness of Naloxone would also improve vital conversations that must happen between doctor and patient when an opioid is first prescribed. The doctor would be forced to discuss the dangers of opioids when writing the prescription and to warn the patient of signs of overdose for which they should watch.
[su_note note_color=”#F0F0F0″]While opioids are important drugs that are prescribed for routine surgeries and pain management due to a variety of injuries, they come with a host of problems, such as drowsiness, respiratory depression, coma and even death. While they are still useful and needed in pharmacies across America, they are safest when prescribed along with Naloxone, a powerful antidote. The FDA must begin looking into this immediately to decrease the unnecessary overdose deaths that the U.S. has already seen over the past years.[/su_note]