Young adults lead all other age groups for nonmedical use of prescription drugs. This extremely dangerous practice has led to a spike in overdoses and need for emergency treatment.
There are nearly five deaths per day from opioid and prescription drug misuse and approximately 119 emergency room visits for each of those deaths. The misuse of prescription drugs and opioids only contributes to the growing heroine epidemic and HIV transmission from IV drug use, as 80 percent of people who use heroin began with a prescription drug. The turned to heroin because it is substantially more affordable ($10 per hit compared to $80 per pill) and easier to access.
With these growing statistics, what is being done to further protect our youth and young adults from developing a severe substance use disorder by the time they reach their twenties?
A few notable pieces of legislature passed through the Indiana General Assembly this year to be enacted under the 2017-2018 budget. One of those was a vital bill introducing restrictions on prescribing and dispensing opioids. The details of the bill are found below:
Prescribing and dispensing of opioids. Limits the amount of an opioid prescription a prescriber may issue for: (1) an adult who is being prescribed an opioid for the first time; and (2) a child; unless the prescription is for the treatment of specified conditions or circumstances. Requires documentation in the use of certain exemptions. Requires a prescriber to issue a prescription for an opioid in a lesser amount if requested by specified individuals and to document the request. Requires a pharmacist, upon the request of a specified individual, to partially fill the opioid prescription in compliance with federal law. Requires the pharmacist to document that the opioid prescription was partially filled. Requires the medical licensing board, in consultation with specified persons, to adopt emergency rules and rules concerning conditions that will be exempt from the prescription limitations.
Hopefully with tighter restrictions on the amount of the opioid that a provider can prescribe, this will significantly reduce the number of youth and young adults who come in contact with these highly addictive substances for something as minor as a broken bone or wisdom teeth removal.
Research shows that many young adults that are diagnosed with a substance use disorder in their twenties were introduced to that substance from an injury that they endured as a youth.