The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has the ability to track prescriptions to Medicaid participants. The agency used this data to track the over-prescribing of opioids here in Ohio from June 2016 through May 2017. The results were alarming.
Everyone in the medical profession should be aware of the fact that an opioid crisis exists not only here in Ohio, but across the country. Some people may think that the fact that doctors in the state continue to overprescribe opioids is due to patients “doctor shopping” in order to feed their addictions. In reality, only around 231 people during that time frame engaged in this activity.
Instead, doctors prescribed high doses of opioids to almost 5,000 Medicaid recipients here in Ohio. Perhaps more unsettling is the fact that doctors prescribed at least one opioid to 40,000 children under the age of 18 during that same time. As many as 6,000 children received more than one prescription. The obvious conclusion is that pharmacists and doctors are not following the state’s guidelines for the prescription of these dangerous medications.
Few people would deny that opioids have their place in the medical field, but considering the dangers of addiction, abuse and overdose, it may be time to use these drugs as a last resort for pain management. Some doctors and pharmacists do not appear to be taking this crisis as seriously as they should since even low doses of these medications could cause adverse health consequences to patients, especially children. Parents tend to believe that doctors have their children’s best interests in mind when prescribing medication, but that may not be the case. If a child suffers harm due to a doctor or pharmacist’s negligence, it may be prudent to explore the legal options.