As in other parts of the country, residents of Nevada are seeing the devastating effects of the opioid crisis. Although heroin is one cause of overdoses in the country, prescription opioids have been singled out as major contributors to this issue. As a result, medical doctors are being trained to practice responsible prescribing of this pain medication to help prevent further addiction and deaths.
According to Newsweek, the president recently declared this problem a public health emergency, with more opioid-related deaths in 2016 than there were in the Vietnam War. Opioids help block pain receptors and increase the feelings of euphoria in the body, and they are extremely addictive. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry has focused a lot of their resources on marketing these drugs, and for years doctors had basically free reign in regard to prescribing the medication. As doctors began to learn more about the effects of the meds, there became more regulations with prescriptions, and those who were not able to refill their prescriptions often turned to illegal options, such as heroin.
To aid in managing the opioid crisis, Time states the surgeon general reached out to doctors for their help. In the letter, Dr. Murthy asked them to learn more about opioids and their addictive potential. He requested doctors screen their patients for those who are at higher risk for misabuse and find alternative treatments. Physicians who do not take the time and effort to study their patients’ medical and drug-use histories and look into other options for their pain management are practicing medicine irresponsibly and may be considered to be negligent in their care.