5 Steps Michigan has Taken to Prevent Opioid Abuse
In recent years, nurse attorneys in Michigan have begun to see more cases of opioid dependency. All of these cases are avoidable, and a large number are brought about by negligent prescribing practices. In some cases, the doctor’s negligence can legally be considered malpractice.
There is a long list of factors that have contributed to the current epidemic. Some of them are related to aggressive marketing practices by opioid manufacturers. Others are caused by the social stigma surrounding drug addiction problems.
Fortunately, Michigan is beginning to take proactive steps to combat the opioid addiction crisis. Various state agencies and medical leaders are creating new strategies that engage the public, medical professionals, and law enforcement agencies.
1. Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)
A PDMP is a statewide database or similar system for viewing patients’ prescription history. Since patients with opioid addictions tend to hide their dependency by getting new prescriptions from different physicians, a PDMP ideally allows medical professionals to check other physicians’ prior prescriptions for that patient.
Michigan’s system is imperfect since physicians sometimes don’t update a patient’s information or don’t check it before writing a new prescription. However, Michigan legislators are working on ways to require physicians to use the system.
2. Michigan Opioid Partnership
The Michigan Opioid Partnership is a group of public agencies and private organizations that are tackling the opioid crisis together. This group helps fund and administer grants to healthcare providers that are taking a proactive role in helping patients with opioid dependency.
This partnership works especially well in reaching marginalized communities and the homeless. Nonprofits that have existing relationships with these communities can connect individuals with social services that benefit them.
3. OPEN Opioid Disposal
Some cases of opioid abuse are caused in part by unused prescriptions sit in medicine cabinets instead of being thrown away. This enables individuals with an addiction to continue to use pills from their own or a loved one’s past prescription instead of consulting with a doctor about continuing the medication appropriately.
Michigan has hundreds of safe, confidential opioid disposal sites across the state. These are law enforcement and medical offices with special secure opioid disposal procedures in place.
4. Therapy-Related Research
Michigan health institutions are leading the way in finding new methods of treating pain. One of these methods involves using cognitive-behavioral therapy to reduce an individual’s likelihood of resorting to opioids to manage pain.
While this type of therapy won’t work in all cases, it can be life-changing for individuals with mild pain. Therapists can often work to reduce a patient’s perception of pain by teaching strategies for ignoring it, as well as by teaching patients better sleeping and exercise habits.
5. Confidential Ways to Seek Help
Stigma and the possibility of facing criminal charges keep many addicted patients from seeking help. They may be reluctant to even call an ambulance in case of an overdose.
Michigan has implemented new laws and resources to allow individuals to get help without facing significant repercussions. The state’s new Good Samaritan Law protects individuals from criminal charges if they call an ambulance to report an overdose. The best new resource is the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, which allows patients to seek out resources near them.
What Comes Next?
While doctors and hospitals are working on procedures to minimize opioid dosage amounts, the reality is that some doctors may continue to overprescribe. In recent years, some doctors have been caught blatantly ignoring the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on appropriate dosage amounts.
Prescribing excessive amounts of opioids without due diligence can be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you or a loved one has been prescribed reckless amounts of opioids, consult with a medical malpractice attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. as soon as possible by calling 1-866-642-4529 for a free case evaluation.
At Cochran, Knoll & Associates, P.C., we have medical lawyers with extensive experience and expert knowledge. Our nurse attorney, Eileen E. Kroll, can work with you to get the compensation you need to recover from your opioid dependency.
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. we never charge a fee unless we resolve your case.