Maine’s Prescription Monitoring Program
Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem. In fact, this issue is noted as one of the worst public health problems in the state of Maine. In response to this serious situation, Maine has developed a prescription monitoring program.
About Prescription Monitoring Programs
Prescription drug monitoring programs are common. In fact, 49 states have one. This type of program tracks the prescriptions given out in the state. In other words, when a person is given a prescription, this information is input to the database. This record can let doctors know how many other prescriptions, if any, a patient has.
The History of Prescription Drug Monitoring
While modern systems that use highly secure internet databases are new, the idea of monitoring prescription drug usage is not. In fact, the first prescription monitoring program was established in New York in 1918.
Maine’s Prescription Monitoring Program
Each state is in charge of its own prescription monitoring program. Maine’s prescription monitoring program is a system that allows prescription dispensers in the state to upload information to a central database.
How Maine’s Program Works
When a prescription is given to a patient, the information is entered into the secure system. Maine’s program prioritizes security, which is critical. The database is encrypted and secured for safety and is accessible to only certain individuals and strictly for the purposes of health and safety. Licensed prescribers and their delegates are the only ones who can access the information. The drugs included in Maine’s monitoring program are Schedule II, III, and IV drugs.
Why Prescription Monitoring?
Prescription monitoring is an important tool in the fight against the abuse of prescription drugs. Since this type of system can monitor and prevent excessive access to such drugs, prescription monitoring also aids in preventing overdoses and deaths that result from the use of these substances.
The Benefits of Prescription Monitoring
One major goal of Maine’s prescription monitoring program is to create a healthier state. This goal is accomplished in various ways.
Preventing Drug Misuse
Ensuring that patients are not prescribed drugs that could negatively interact with one another is critical. The database helps prescribers to see what other drugs are currently prescribed to someone. Based on the information in the system, doctors and pharmacists can offer alternatives to the original prescription if necessary.
Safeguarding Against Doctor Shopping
Doctor shopping occurs when a person goes to different medical professionals to try to get multiple prescriptions for the same drug. In other cases, patients are denied a prescription by one doctor. Then, these individuals go to another doctor to see if they can get the prescription there. A central database of prescriptions can protect against these occurrences.
Working to Stop Drug Abuse
Individuals who are shopping for doctors and prescriptions may be engaged in drug abuse. If they cannot obtain the drugs through prescriptions, they may be protected against engaging in further abuse. Simply knowing about this system might be enough to prevent some individuals from doctor shopping.
Identifying Illegal Sources of Prescription Drugs
Some people might go from doctor to doctor to get different prescription drugs to sell. The records in the database can alert appropriate parties to individuals who have been prescribed large amounts of different drugs. This type of system, then, can be helpful in identifying the source of drugs that lead to serious issues, such as overdoses.
Providing Appropriate Care
A prescription monitoring program also allows doctors to provide patients with the necessary care. For example, in some cases, people are suspected of prescription shopping when they are not actually doing so. Looking these individuals up in the system can reveal the truth. Doctors can also check for other prescriptions that their patients might have in order to avoid dangerous interactions.
Developing a Care Plan
The monitoring program can also be of help in the cases of people who are suffering from drug abuse. Individuals who are in severe withdrawal, for example, might not be able to articulate the various prescriptions that they have used to their physicians. The database can provide this critical information.
The Necessity of Prescription Monitoring
Keeping track of prescriptions is necessary because of the high rate of prescription drug abuse and the ability of these drugs to lead to overdoses or deaths. Further, with so many medical practices and pharmacies, a streamlined system helps in keeping organized records of all individuals in the state.
Youths and Prescription Drugs
Many young people, including high school and college students, abuse prescription drugs. Some teenagers might get these drugs from their friends at school. Many youngsters struggle with a great deal of pressure, including stress from school and social situations.
As a result, these adolescents sometimes turn to drugs, and prescription drugs are often the easiest to get. Other teenagers will use prescription drugs because they think that doing so will enhance their enjoyment at parties. In other cases, youths begin abusing prescription drugs out of curiosity but then find that stopping is difficult. The dangers that prescription drugs pose to young people are another reason why monitoring programs must exist.
Prevalence of Abuse
Prescription drugs are heavily abused. A number of prescription drugs are categorized as opioids, which have become a major problem in Maine. The fact that these drugs are so heavily abused is a large motivator to continue the monitoring program.
Ease of Access
Prescription drugs can also be easier to access than other substances. People might take these drugs from their relatives or friends. Also, when patients are prescribed such drugs for legitimate medical reasons, these individuals might take more of the medicine than they are supposed to. There are strategies that individuals use to obtain more of the prescription drugs when they run out. Monitoring the number of prescriptions that a person receives from different doctors can help combat this issue.
Lack of Education
There’s also a general lack of education when it comes to the dangers of prescription drugs. Society tends to see prescription drugs as useful since these medications can ease pain and help patients after surgeries or other procedures. People also see prescription drugs as ways to ease the symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. While prescription drugs play an important role in helping patients physically and mentally, there also needs to be more education provided and awareness raised about the dangers of these substances.
The Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse
Ultimately, the abuse of prescription drugs can be dangerous, which is a major reason why the substances have to be monitored. Abusing prescription drugs can affect a person’s physical and mental health in many ways.
Regularly using prescription drugs can lead to addiction. Since these drugs are typically given to alleviate pain or other physical symptoms, people can get addicted to the relief that they provide. As time goes on, individuals may find that they need more and more of the drug to get that relief. A dependency on the drug then forms.
Physical Health Consequences
These drugs are intended to be used only by the patients for whom they are prescribed. If other people use the drugs, they can experience serious health consequences. For example, individuals might take someone else’s prescription drugs not realizing that they are allergic to one of the ingredients or that they are taking another medication that can have a deadly effect when taken with the prescription.
Individuals who are abusing prescription drugs could experience an array of other physical consequences as well. Some of these effects include an irregular heartbeat, dizziness, a slowed breathing rate, and nausea.
Mental Health Consequences
Abusing virtually any type of drug can lead a person to feel depressed or suicidal. Prescription drugs, specifically, can lead to paranoia, difficulty with concentrating, and confusion, among other issues.
Why Choose Liberty Bay Recovery Center for Treatment?
If you or a loved one is suffering from prescription drug abuse, know that help is available. The supportive and compassionate team members at Liberty Bay can craft a personal plan that addresses your needs and helps you to combat addiction.
Programs for Prescription Drug Abuse
Enrolling in a treatment program that addresses your specific addiction is important. Liberty Bay Recovery Center has programs for different types of drugs. For example, one of the options is intended for opiate withdrawal, and many prescription drugs are opiates.
Liberty Bay is also there with you every step of the way. You’ll begin with a consultation to determine a treatment plan tailored to your needs. The staff members at Liberty Bay understand that even if two people are both suffering from an addiction to prescription drugs these individuals could have entirely different needs in terms of treatment.
Often, the next step involves medically supervised detox. You could experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Medically supervised detox means that you’ll have doctors and professionals in mental health around you during the process. Also, going through detox at a facility can seriously reduce your access to prescription drugs and the odds that you relapse in this phase. Furthermore, sometimes medications are needed to treat withdrawal symptoms, and the doctors will know how to appropriately navigate this situation given that you are struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs.
After detox, you can enroll in either an inpatient or outpatient program. Both types of treatments are intended to provide you with guidance, counseling, and other support mechanisms. An intensive inpatient treatment program can be beneficial so that you have the time and space to focus exclusively on your recovery.
Liberty Bay doesn’t stop there in terms of providing assistance. Once your treatment is complete, the staff members can help you to connect with resources back at home to provide continued support.
Supportive, Nurturing and Informed Approach
When you know that you’re suffering from an addiction to prescription drugs, you might think that you can combat this issue alone. Keep in mind that the ease with which you can get prescription drugs can make this process difficult. Furthermore, without professional guidance, you won’t be able to learn about the reasons why you use prescription drugs. Counselors at the treatment center can help you to identify your triggers and to recognize issues that might have led to this abuse.
Another battle is determining how you will resolve the issue that required the prescription in the first place. In other words, if you originally started taking the prescription to deal with a physical or mental health issue, stopping your usage can be even more difficult. The counselors at Liberty Bay can assist in developing a plan that tackles both the original issue and the abuse of prescription drugs.
Understanding Staff Members
Many of Liberty Bay’s staff members are former addicts. Therefore, you don’t need to feel judged and embarrassed about your addiction. The staff members understand what having an addiction is like and the struggles that come along with combatting that addiction. Furthermore, the team members are able to provide accurate and motivational insight.
Prescription drug abuse is a major problem in Maine, and the monitoring program is one step that the state has taken to tackle the issue. By monitoring prescription drug usage, doctors and pharmacists can work to stop the improper distribution of and access to these medications. However, despite the efforts of the program, the abuse of prescription drugs continues. If you are suffering from any form of addiction to substances, Liberty Bay has a treatment program for you. Take the first step toward recovery by speaking with a representative today.