The United States has been struggling the past two decades with the opioid epidemic.
One driving factor behind this crisis is the abuse of prescription painkillers. It is estimated that approximately 5,480 people a day in the country misuse a prescription painkiller for the first time.1 Unfortunately, prescription drug abuse in the United States does not stop there. In 2017, first time abuse of prescription drugs reached over one million for prescription stimulants, 1.5 million for prescription tranquilizers, and 271,000 for prescription sedatives.1 These alarming numbers have created a huge cause for concern.
Prescription Drug Abuse in IllinoisIllinois as well is no stranger to prescription drug abuse. In 2018, 14,975 deaths in Illinois involved prescription opioids.2 While this number declined slightly since the previous year, it is still problematic.
One big problem is prescription drug abuse among the youth. In Chicago, 15% of high school students in 2017 reported misusing prescription opioids.3 With misuse starting at such a young age, there could be serious trouble ahead for these young adults if dependence develops. Of the Chicago adults who were surveyed, 70.8% of them who reported misusing prescription opioids did not have a prescription.4 Even though they were not given these drugs by a doctor, they were still easily able to get access to them. If this abuse continues and they do not get prescription drug abuse treatment, some of these people may turn to harder opioids like heroin.
Because of growing concerns in the state’s prescription drug abuse, Illinois has taken several steps to try and decrease these numbers.
The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in IllinoisOne part of the solution to getting their prescription drug abuse problem under control is the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). This online platform is used to collect information on the prescription of controlled substances throughout the state.
Prescribers and dispensers can input information about their prescriptions as well as check the platform for a patient’s medical history. This information can alert prescribers to potential abuse among their patients like signs of doctor shopping or a concerning number of prescriptions for the same drug.
By using the Illinois PMP regularly, prescribers and dispensaries may be able to catch drug abuse sooner rather than later. When abuse is suspected, the prescribed can use the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program website. It provides an intervention form as well as a link to Illinois addiction treatment centers. These additional resources may help patients realize that they have a problem and convince them to get help before their addiction gets worse or they start turning to harder and illegal drugs.
The Illinois PMP is one of many programs that the state has in place to try and help decrease problems with prescription drug abuse. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to these drugs, our Chicago PHP may be able to help before problems escalate.
To take the first step to get help for yourself or a loved one, reach out to us now at 888-280-4763.
Sources & References:
- NIH- What is the scope of prescription drug misuse?
- NIH- Illinois: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms
- Chicago Department of Public Health- Annual Opioid Surveillance Report – Chicago, 2017