Prescriber Education for Medical Students

The FDA seems to be insistent upon approving so many of the current medications that often lead to being addictive and sometimes fatal. However, it is now finally a requirement in the United States to receive prescriber education on the risks and restraints that must go along with prescribing such drugs for anyone looking to get into the medical field. This is true for even nurses and nurse assistants, although they do not do any prescribing themselves.

The United States: An Overmedicated Country

There’s no doubt about it; the United States is an overmedicated country.  A significant degree of concern and fear has been placed lately on the over-prescription issue of drugs in the United States. Just to show some context on this, the United States contains only a mere 5% of the entire world’s population, but we as a nation consume more than 75% of the whole world’s annual supply of pharmaceutical drugs. There’s no way that this is at all normal or natural.

The United States is known worldwide for having an over-prescribing issue. We quite literally have a drug for everything, even though other countries consider that, in the vast majority of occasions, no medication is needed to handle most psychological and physical conditions. Furthermore, the overprescribing issue that is occurring might not be such a bad thing if it wasn’t for the fact of the terrible side effects that go along with these medications. The point is that for Americans, the drugs that they are being prescribed are addictive, potent, mind-altering, body-altering, and very often fatal.

Many have speculated as to why these drugs are being approved and why they are being used, but the bottom line is that they are very much here and they seem to be staying as well. In light of that fact, medical schools have now begun to include instruction on the risks of over-prescribing and how to avoid over-prescribing as a part of their programs. Even for family doctors and general medical practitioners, prescriber education is a requirement now, and thankfully so.

Some Statistics on Prescription Drugs

What is the big idea behind overprescribing? If they help, why is it a problem? The problem is because drugs are not the solution.  They are a band-aid.  In fact, drugs are often a problem in and of themselves. Drugs create a condition within the human body and mind where the user begins to rely on the medication itself for handling the issue rather than the individual handling the problem himself or herself or using a holistic method of managing it instead. For this reason, prescriber education is needed more than ever before in this country.

Drugs that fall into the category of heart medications, oncology medications, anemic condition medication, and necessary health issue medicine are a marvel of modern pharmaceutical science and are very helpful and beneficial. However, drugs like psychiatric medications, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, stimulants, tranquilizers, steroids, and prescription pain relievers are far more often more trouble than they are worth.  The statistics alone on the effects of over-prescription and over-prescribing of ourselves are enough to make one realize why this is now a priority. For example:

• Of the 25 million Americans who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, almost 10,000,000 of them alone are addicted to prescription drugs.

• Prescription drugs kill more Americans every single year and all other drug substances combined. That’s more than 30,000 deaths from prescription drugs every year alone.

• Prescription drugs are also causing the youth of the nation to become far more addicted than they ever were before. Before the turn of the century, a young adult’s first exposure to drugs was usually with marijuana or some hallucinogen. While this is probably not ideal, hallucinogens and marijuana are not going to be very addictive, and they are probably not deadly. Now, however, studies show that the gateway drugs in the United States that are the most common are, (still marijuana), but more importantly are also prescription drugs. This means that teens and young adults are abusing prescription drugs and dropping like flies as a result of these abuses.

• An epidemic of prescription drug abuse has hit the nation and in a big way too. Since the turn of the century, the sale, distribution, and proliferation of prescription drugs into the hands of the American populace has increased by more than 300%. Following with that, the numbers of individuals who die from prescription drugs every single year has more than quadrupled since 2001.

• Statistics show that Opiate abuse and Opiate addiction cost Americans over $484 billion annually. This amount includes healthcare costs and abuses of the healthcare system, lost wages, car accidents, crime, and criminal justice system costs.  This is almost always about pharmaceutical opiate pain relievers, not to heroin as is commonly believed

• These types of occurrences must be stopped if it is ever hoped that the prescription drug issue is going to cease. Last but not least, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently label the prescription drug abuse issue in the United States as a legitimate epidemic. This is the very first addiction issue in the United States to ever receive the label of an epidemic from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Increased Prescriber Education is Essential

In the end, increased prescriber education and understanding about the risks that go along with prescribing drugs and how to avoid over-prescribing them is an excellent start for the American medical field. However, it is not nearly enough, and it will be required that a lot of work be done on this if the future is to look much better than it is now. Intensive rehabilitation efforts must be taken to make sure this is handled correctly, and intensive prevention methods to stop individuals from becoming addicted to these substances in the first place is also necessary.

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