While drug abuse and addiction have long been problems that individuals all across the United States are struggling with, it is yet a relatively new development that these problems are caused more largely by drug substances approved by the FDA and recommended by medical doctors than drugs which are illegal to buy, sell or use in our country. Prescription drug abuse and addiction is a growing problem that affects everyone from teenagers to senior citizens, and it can have a variety of reasons. An individual may abuse prescription drugs with or without a prescription because they believe that these drugs are safer to use than illegal drug substances since they are FDA approved and medical doctor recommended. A senior citizen may abuse prescription drugs simply because they’ve forgotten that they already took the recommended dose, and then take another. Whatever the reason, however, the abuse of prescription drug substances has now been officially classified as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How Addiction Costs Hospitals Money
Liz Stallings, the director of the clinical operations division of HFS Consultants, admits that there have been more unintentional drug overdoses from prescription drug of late. When one also considers the rise in heroin addiction, which some officials say is closely related to the rise in prescription drug abuse and addiction, it is not shocking that the number of drug-related overdoses has increased dramatically in recent years. This can adversely affect many individuals, families and communities in a variety of ways, but there is no doubt that hospitals bear the brunt of the adverse financial costs.
A study undertaken by the Stanford University School of Medicine that analyzed 2010 data from hospitals across the country discovered that prescription painkillers were behind almost sixty-eight percent of all opioid-related overdoses that were being treated in emergency departments. Conversely, heroin accounted for just over sixteen percent of all opioid-related overdoses. Roughly half of the study patients were admitted to the hospital as a result of their opioid overdose, and the costs for their emergency and inpatient care totaled almost $2.3 billion. Unfortunately, hospitals don’t always receive full compensation for all the emergency department and post-emergency department care they provide to patients suffering from drug overdoses. While the Accountable Care Act and some Medicaid programs have allowed more individuals to acquire the health insurance they need, the fact remains that most individuals may still be grossly underinsured as regards the specific coverages that hospitals would need in order to recover all of their costs. The medicine and labor resources that are used up in responding to overdose patients are quite extensive, and therefore quite costly.
Solving the Problem
Obviously, the fewer overdose victims there are, the lower a hospital’s costs in treating these patients will be. This means that the problems of prescription and illicit opioid drug abuse and addiction need to be prevented from occurring in the first place. Preventative measures like effective drug education can be incredibly helpful, but the fact remains that they may not be enough to fully resolve the problem. Another solution to the rising costs of opioid overdose treatments in hospitals, and one that has become more popular recently, is to enable first responders to treat overdose patients on the scene with overdose-reversal medications like naloxone. This can allow the individual to then arrive at a hospital in a stabilized condition that may not require the same extensive care and treatment as if they arrived in the midst of a life threatening emergency, which can then lower hospital costs in treating these individuals. That said, they are still not in the clear, as naloxone is actually a short-acting drug, and the individual can relapse back into an overdose state an hour after the administration of the drug. However, it may make some impact on the hospital treatment costs while other preventative measures are explored and instituted.
Getting the Help
If you or a loved ones drug addiction becomes a serious problem there are drug rehabs available and drug-rehab.org is a non-profit organization that will get you the help you need. Nowadays drug addictions are such a vast problem, therefore all methods are delivered by licensed and certified counselors and are individualized. They are very knowledgeable in order to help you get the best recovery you need. The areas of specialty include: Watsonville, California, Santa Cruz, California, San Francisco, California, Sacramento, California and Santa Rosa, California which all offer treatment for drug addiction and alcoholism.