MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Abuse of prescription drugs may now be the No. 1 cause of accidental death in the United States.
That’s why the American College of Physicians is issuing new guidelines to educate both physicians and patients on the dangers of drug addiction.
The new policies suggests doctors should first consider non-addictive pain killers.
When addictive narcotics must be prescribed, doctors should carefully think about the dosage.
The group also recommends doctors screen patients for risk of addiction and that patients agree, in writing, that they will do as the doctor says.
Patients should know drugs are not intended to eliminate 100 percent of the pain.
“If that’s what the patient’s mindset is, he’s likely going to come back and say, ‘I wasn’t getting enough relief and I doubled the prescription,'” said Dr. Molly Cooke, of the American College of Physicians.
The physicians also want to connect all state drug monitoring programs so patients can’t cross state lines to get multiple prescriptions.