How do doctors contribute to opioid addiction?

When you find yourself with a drug charge against you, you might feel like you are at the end of the rope. So many people struggle with drug addiction because of how the healthcare system treated them. Doctors, insurance companies and other healthcare providers have a role to play in the drug epidemic.

USA Today explains how doctors could help to solve the opioid epidemic. How did they contribute to begin with?

Overprescribing after surgery

One of the biggest issues in the healthcare industry is the overprescribing of opioids after surgery. Many patients believe that they cannot recover from surgery or cope with the pain if they do not have an opioid painkiller.

Opioids are an effective painkiller and for some procedures they are necessary. However, there are cases where an NSAID like ibuprofen or acetaminophen could help a patient just as much. One thing to note is that some doctors will overprescribe the medication. For example, if you require opioids, one doctor may give you a prescription that lasts about a week, whereas another doctor may give you an entire month’s supply, despite how you do not need it.

Insurance coverage problems

Insurance coverage does have a role to play too. Many people in poorer areas cannot afford over-the-counter medication. They cannot buy ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help after an injury or after surgery. Insurance does cover opioids after surgery but will not cover over-the-counter medicine. If non-opioids work as well, they should not be expensive.

If society can pinpoint the different overprescribing patterns of doctors, they can also stop them from happening, thus reducing opioid addiction.