By Jamie Shuster
The CDC recently sounded the alarm on a growing epidemic in our country: the over-prescription of opioid painkillers. According to the CDC, American health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.
From a public health perspective, this is a serious concern as higher prescribing of pain killers is associated with more overdoses and deaths. Here in South Carolina, 102 prescriptions for painkillers are now written for every 100 residents, and more than 200 people die each year from accidental prescription drug overdose. All of these deaths are avoidable. Most are caused because people are able to shop for painkillers by contacting multiple pharmacies and physicians to receive separate prescriptions for the same drug.
To combat the problem, DHEC is working with health care providers and pharmacists across the state to increase the number of prescribers utilizing our enhanced prescription monitoring program known as SCRIPTS. Run by our Bureau of Drug Control, this voluntary, online database makes it easier for South Carolina doctors and pharmacists to identify and report potential prescription drug abuse.
How does it work? Continue reading