Primary care physicians in the USA are becoming more concerned about prescription painkiller abuse, and as a result these doctors are cutting back on prescribing painkillers for their patients according to new studies and surveys. In fact roughly half of the primary care physicians and internists who were surveyed said that they are less likely today to prescribe drugs that can lead to prescription painkiller abuse than they were even a year ago. This leads to the concern that some patients may not be receiving proper pain management though, and a balance between both factors must be struck to ensure that the drugs are not abused but that they are available to the patients who legitimately need them. The survey involved close to 600 physicians in different areas of medicine.
During the survey an astonishing 85% of primary care physicians and medical specialists expressed a belief that opioid medications that lead to prescription painkiller abuse are overused by medical practitioners. Approximately half of the survey respondents said that they were extremely concerned about the risks that narcotic painkillers have, and these risks include,prescription painkiller abuse, addiction, overdoses that cause death, and even traffic accidents caused by a driver being under the influence of opioid drugs. Around 66% of the survey respondents reported being concerned about the fact that a tolerance occurs in many patients who take this medications. The lead researcher on the study, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology Dr. G. Caleb Alexander stated “Our findings suggest that primary care providers have become aware of the scope of the prescription opioid crisis and are responding in ways that are important, including reducing their over-reliance on these medicines. The health care community has long been part of the problem, and now they appear to be part of the solution to this complex epidemic.