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Connecticut Wants Federal Stimulus Grant To Combat "Doctor Shopping" And Prescription Drug Addiction
Connecticut is asking for more than $620,000 in a government federal stimulus grant to combat “doctor shopping”, the most common way people suffering from prescription drug addiction obtain drugs illicitly.
Doctor shopping is the practice of seeing multiple physicians and pharmacies to acquire controlled substances for nonmedical use. The 2-year grant program would be used to add an investigative team to the state’s existing Prescription Drug Monitoring and Reporting System.
Calling the illicit use of prescription drugs “a growing problem in the state, one that exacts a steep and costly toll on abusers, their families, employers and society in general,” Governor M. Jodi Rell said the funds will be used to combat abuse and prescription drug addiction.
“These funds will allow us to take a novel approach in combating abuse and addiction by identifying these individuals early and offering rehabilitation instead of criminal prosecution,” Governor Rell said. “We can help people reclaim their lives and become productive individuals in the workforce.”
The prescription drug monitoring system maintains a database of all controlled substance prescriptions filled in Connecticut, as well as prescriptions filled out of state and delivered into the state. Officials estimate that more than 3,000 patients, or 20 percent of those receiving controlled substance prescriptions, share common characteristics that identify them as potential doctor shoppers. Many are patients suffering from prescription drug addiction who received legitimate prescriptions for opioid painkillers because of chronic pain.
The special investigative unit would be comprised of a special agent with statewide jurisdiction, and a health program assistant. It would look into at least 200 suspected doctor shoppers over the course of the two-year program. The funds will also be used for educating police, pharmacists and addiction treatment professionals, as well as training law enforcement agencies on the use of the monitoring system as an investigative tool in doctor shopping cases.
The governor didn’t outline what kinds of rehabilitation programs will be offered under the grant program, or whether the grant monies would be used to cover part or all of someone’s rehabilitation. One hopes that a modern, medically supervised drug detox program will be part of whatever services are offered by the state.
Before any rehabilitation program, prescription drug addiction patients must get through the drug withdrawal period, called detox, that can last from a few days to a week or two, depending on the severity of the addiction and the state of the addict’s health.
It is well known that almost everyone abandons what’s called “cold-turkey” withdrawal from drugs such as opioid painkillers, the most common drug involved in prescription drug addiction. And most people even abandon certified ‘one-size-fits-all’ detox programs which don’t consider each addict’s unique needs. In either case, the majority soon return to their life based around their prescription drug addiction.
A personally tailored drug detox that takes into account a patient’s unique metabolism, DNA, and current health situation is the most effective approach. Such a detox program provides careful monitoring around the clock by a trained medical staff, and uses assistive therapies to reduce or eliminate discomfort. The completion rate for such programs is routinely 100 percent, and also sets patients up for much more positive expectations in rehab.
The news media tells us daily about celebrities — and ordinary people — locked in the grip of prescription drug addiction. Today, many are discovering that withdrawal from prescription drug addiction doesn’t have to be a nightmare, and that a medical drug detox program is the most successful first step on the road to recovery.
Rod MacTaggart is a freelance writer that contributes articles on health, drug addiction and drug abuse, drug detox, and drug rehabilitation.
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