Doctors play key role in curbing prescription drug abuse

June 30, 2014
by Dr. Jerry Gordon
The Intelligencer

Medical doctors, dentists and other licensed practitioners commonly use prescription opioid or narcotic medications to help elevate pain after surgical procedures.  These medications are also used to treat chronic ailments or other conditions that cause people pain.  Despite the importance of these drugs, they are sometimes overprescribed and have led to an alarming and growing epidemic of drug dependency, related criminal activity, overdose, and death.  In 2010, a comprehensive study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that nearly 60 percent of the drug overdose deaths (22,134) involved pharmaceutical drugs and 75% of these deaths involved prescribed opioid painkillers.  A 2013 study from Trust for America’s Health found that here in Pennsylvania, we have the 14th highest rate of drug overdose deaths and most of those deaths involved the use of prescription drugs. Prescription drug related deaths now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined.

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