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  • Amin Zahrai and Kenny Huynh

Post-overdose prescription of opioids

Are you struggling with a problem related to a pain medicine?

You are not alone.

In fact, many people start taking opiates as part of a prescribed pain management plan. One of the risks of using these overdose. In an opioid overdose, patients pass out, their breathing slows or stops, or they may die.

After treatment for opioid overdose, several Medicaid patients still receive prescriptions for the same drug that nearly killed them, researchers say. According to investigators from the University of Pittsburgh, after hospital discharge, few overdose patients get prescribed with anti-addiction medications.

More than 6,000 people who survived an opioid overdose were studied.

"Forty percent of those with a heroin overdose and 60 percent of those with a prescription opioid overdose filled a prescription in the six months after overdose" said Julie Donohue, associate professor of health policy.

Lack of organization in the U.S. healthcare system to respond to these life-threatening circumstances is worrisome. In 2015, there were more than 33,000 deaths in America from opioid overdose; also thirty non-fatal overdoses occurred for each overdose death, which may be intervened, said Donohue. One specialist said addiction treatment isn't readily available due to insufficient number of healthcare professionals.

"We need to increase treatment capacity so people treated for overdose in hospitals can begin addiction treatment while in the hospital, reduce stigma associated with treatment, and educate providers on how to motivate patients to engage with treatment," Donohue suggested.

Researchers blame doctors for overprescribing opioids to surgical and chronic-pain patients.

Additionally, doctors who prescribe opioids need to know when a patient has had an overdose so they can change the treatment.

Donohue noted that other non-addiction forms of pain treatment may be more appropriate for patients recovering from non-fatal drug overdose.

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