Doing Something About Prescription (Opioid) Drug Abuse
Taken properly, prescription drugs, such as opioids, stimulants, sedatives and tranquilizers, can be effective in helping people manage pain and other ailments. However, they can cause more harm than good when misused and abused. This is an unfortunate fact that’s beginning to be addressed in Canada.
According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, the harm associated with psychoactive prescription drugs has now become one of the leading public health and safety concerns in North America. “Opioids now kill more people than breast cancer”. This is hardly surprising when you consider that North Americans consume something like 80% of the world’s opioids and that deaths related to prescription opioid use has been on the rise for years now. In Ontario, deaths due at least in part to prescription opioid use nearly doubled between 1991 to 2004, as the number went from 13.7 deaths per million people to 27.2 deaths per million people. These days, it’s estimated that 4,000 Canadians and more than 70,000 Americans die each year after taking prescription opioids.
A few years back, the National Framework for Action to Reduce the Harms Associated with Alcohol and Other Drugs and Substances in Canada made preventing the misuse of pharmaceuticals a priority. Now, in 2015, it seems that the federal government feels the need to do the same. It’s been announced that there are plans to create a national system that will monitor just how big the problem is.
Unfortunately, it’s quite easy for people to become addicted to opioids. They can become dependent on them in very little time and they end up taking larger and larger doses, because their bodies develop tolerances for the drugs rather quickly. With this in mind, doctors really need to think carefully about prescribing opioids to their patients. Some would argue that far too many people are being given prescriptions for these potentially dangerous drugs.
Can anything be done to keep someone from abusing prescription drugs once they have them in their possession? Well, yes, actually. The RxPense® device can be used to keep people from overmedicating. The pill dispensing part of the machine is designed to automate the delivery of medications. It makes sure to give the right drugs at the right time. It will only dispense the prescribed dose and it keeps its drugs locked away, so you can’t just open it up and take some more if you feel so inclined.
The RxPense® machine not only protects patients, it protects others as well. It isn’t uncommon for young children to stumble upon drugs and ingest them, but the device greatly decreases the chances of that ever happening. After all, if they can’t get access to the drugs, they sure as heck can’t take them.
Another thing worth noting is that the RxPense® machine gives you a way to make sure that the person who is supposed to be taking the drugs is indeed the one who is consuming them. Friends or family members sometimes get hooked on opioids by secretly taking drugs meant for a loved one. With RxPense®, that isn’t something that you really need to be concerned with. Its meds can’t be dispensed to just anyone and the device can even capture an image of the medication taker and store it. So if you suspected that someone was taking drugs when they shouldn’t have been, you could literally look at pictures to see if your suspicions were founded or not.
Much needs to be done to combat the scourge of prescription drug abuse in North America and it’s great to see that people in different domains are stepping up to the plate to confront this problem. No one thing will solve the issue, but with everyone doing their part, we might just be able to overcome it and save some lives.
In one year, drug overdoses killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War did!