Authorities, law makers and residents of Tennessee know that their state is under a prescription drug abuse epidemic. To address the current situation, a new act has been passed last April 25 that will hopefully put a stop to the growing problem.
The Tennessee Prescription Safety Act will require all prescribers and dispensers of drugs under schedule II, III, IV, or V of the Food and Drug Authority to register in a database.
Tennessee health commissioner John Dreyzehner said that Tennessee has been battling prescription drug abuse and that they are doing their best to discourage people from getting hold of unwanted medications through the newly approved act.
The Tennessee Drug Diversion Task Force has previously ranked medications such as hydrocodone, alprazolam, and oxycodone as the top controlled substances that doctors instruct their patients to take for relief of any pain discomforts.
Commissioner Dreyzehner warned that although prescription painkillers are a big help to patients, the improper use and abuse of the said medications could lead to disastrous results. “It’s part of the human condition, really. Some of the same things that make us successful as a species … those are some of the same pathways that get stimulated when people abuse certain substances.”
In 2002, the Controlled Substances Database was initially used to identify prescriptions used by patients, and by 2013, all prescribers and dispensers will be ordered to use the database under the Tennessee Prescription Safety Act.
In a feature from the Daily Herald, exceptions to the rule are those under medication from surgery, prescriptions of less than 7 days, and those put in hospice care.
The new legislation will serve as a safety net against prescription drug abuse. It can be remembered that in 2010, drug overdose claimed 1059 lives in the state.
“(As a doctor,) I really want to know if you are already taking (certain medications), because I would not want to harm you inadvertently,” Dreyzehner said.