Feb 17, 2017 08:56 AM EST
Opioid Addiction Caused By Doctors, According To Medicine Study
Opioids are being prescribed to patients for various medical reasons. However, according to reports, some unlucky patients can become hooked on the painkillers and get get addicted to it.
Patients who saw doctors more frequently and are prescribed opioids are 30 percent more likely to become addicted to the drug long-term. America is now suffering an opioid epidemic.
Reports are making its rounds that the overdose rate on the use of opioids are so high. Discussions are now open on how to stop this epidemic. But there are studies indicating that the use of the drugs are linked to the doctors prescribing them. Pain relief from the simplest ailments such as a toothache or a headache are the most common and primary start of the drug.
Patients who leave with an opioid prescription would then suffer long term complications and addictions later on, as reported by Vox.
Researchers are now looking into the prescribing habits of doctors. The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the study, they measure the high and low rates of prescribing the painkiller.
Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health researchers looked into the records of over 300,000 Medicare patients who showed up in emergency departments for pain relief of various causes. These same patients had not used opioids prior to their admission for at least six months. They then categorized these patients to doctors who were prescribed pain killers and patients who checked with doctors who do not prescribe the drug.
The study finds that the prescribing patterns influence the addiction. There are doctors who prescribe high amounts of opioid to 75 percent of their patients. Compare that to doctors who offer the prescription to 7 percent of their patients. The researchers thought was likely the result of inappropriate prescribing.
Anupam Jena, a professor at Harvard Medical School, says that when it comes to opiods the doctor a patient sees matters.
The Wall Street Journal features the nation's struggle with the opioid epidemic:
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