In November, 2012,  ScienceDaily gave a part of an article from a newspaper that reported a Nebraska State patrol investigator called the abuse of prescription drugs an “epidemic” in the state.  Well, the assistant professor of phychiatry in the University Of Nebraska Medical College Of Medicine.  Aly Hassan, MD, agrees, “Clinically, it’s very common problem.  We are treating pain differently than we did even not so long ago.  Remember, the 90s was the decade of treatment of pain, an important aspect of that was to consider pain as the fifth vital sign.”

What does that mean to you and me?  The four primary vital signs are body temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.  That is where they get that information from when they ask you to rate your discomfort from 1 to 10.  “The experience of pain is not only somatic.  It’s not just the nerve being stimulated.  Acute pain can affect not just quality of life, but quality of health.  You can even see it in a person’s vital signs.  When you solve acute pain, all that normalizes.”

Well so that is why the medical field was starting to emphasize the treatment of pain.  So here come all these drugs.  In 2011, hydrocodone was the most prescribed drug in America, according to WebMD.  The observation on this is that when the doctors give a patient a pill for pain they would take this pill till they pain went away.  Then the patient would stop taking the pain medication.  That is not what happens.  These doctors were operating off of information that the patient can be treated with narcotics with little risk of developing the self-destructive behavior of addiction.  But obviously that is not what occurred.

Dr. Hassan notes, “The opiates are very addictive.”  At present time the makeup of many of these drugs are compatible with addiction. This often leads to rehabilitation. They absorb very fast the time the medicine staying in the system goes very fast and so the patient wants another.  “That is the reason they are so addictive.”  From all this we can understand that doctors are in a tough spot.  Should they prescribe pain killers or not.  This tough spot does not absolve them of the responsibility when they do prescribe.  Taking into account the patient and their habits would be one thing to consider.  Dr. Hassan stated, “This is beyond the level of an individual practitioner.  This is really a state problem or even a national problem.”

Wow his take on this is quiet serious, although I do believe he is right.  There is an epidemic in this country.  The responsibility may just land on each of our shoulders to not take these medicines.

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