Have that talk with your patients.
The potential for drug abuse is everywhere — in our homes, our schools, our workplaces and our communities.
Drug addiction includes addiction to alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal substances such as heroin, meth and cocaine. Screening for substance abuse should be a regular part of healthcare. According to national data, nearly one-fourth of patients seeking routine hospital care have an active addiction. Many people go untreated for substance abuse problems due to a lack of screening and diagnosis. Making the discussion about drugs and alcohol a part of routine office visits could help identify an addiction problem earlier, getting people into treatment sooner.
James Harrison Addiction counselor and person in recovery
They’ll listen to you
How you speak with your patients matters:
- Ask nonjudgmental, open-ended questions.
- Quantify the drug or alcohol use and how it can impair judgment.
- Be empathetic and inquisitive.
- Be alert for signs of addiction and be prepared to refer your patient if you suspect an addiction issue.
Signs a patient may be addicted
- Altered sleep habits
- Small or pinpoint pupils
- Dramatic weight changes
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Frequent colds or illness
- Itchy skin or unexplained cuts or scabs
- Leg cramps
- Poor hygiene
- Sense of desperation
- Changes in personality or friends
- School or work performance problems
- Out of or in need of money
- Nodding off or constant sleep problems
Help your patients avoid becoming addicted
Medical providers should use the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The PMP is a system that collects information on all controlled substance (schedules II–V) prescriptions. Using the PMP website, Delaware-licensed pharmacies and prescribers who dispense controlled substances report prescription data to the PMP daily. Prescribers and dispensers registered with the PMP can obtain immediate access to an online report of their current or prospective patient’s controlled substance prescription history. This PMP website is available 24/7 and is to be used for healthcare purposes only.
Use controlled addictive prescription medications only when absolutely necessary. There are many ways to address pain that don’t include the use of opiates.
All providers holding a Delaware Controlled Substance Registration were required to register with the PMP by January 2014. Providers can learn more at the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Program
The PMP is an excellent tool to help you be aware of controlled substance prescription drug use and “doctor shopping.”
Be aware of “doctor shopping,” which involves patients moving from provider to provider to obtain multiple prescriptions.
When a patient has a problem, set a recovery goal and develop and tailor a treatment plan.
Treatment of Pain and Informed Consent language
New Department of State regulations for the safe prescribing of opioid analgesics were published in the January 1, 2017, issue of the Delaware Register of Regulations and will take effect April 1, 2017. The new regulations specify when informed consent is required and when a treatment agreement is required in relation to prescribing these medications.
The treatment agreement information and example informed consent form are intended to be samples only. Use of this information is not intended to fulfill a practitioner’s legal duty to obtain full and complete informed consent. Medical providers are encouraged to customize the forms and work with legal counsel prior to using the forms in their medical practice.
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