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[Fragmento] Horowitz and other toxicologists say the range of legal and illegal drugs now available to anyone with a credit card or well-stocked family medicine chest is broader and, in some ways, more dangerous than ever before. Bored teens seeking the latest high are only part of the problem....
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Worrying Trends Confronted in Prescription Drug Abuse

Martes 9 de octubre de 2012 (18/10/12)
Scientific American ver en scientificamerican.com






[Fragmento]

Horowitz and other toxicologists say the range of legal and illegal drugs now available to anyone with a credit card or well-stocked family medicine chest is broader and, in some ways, more dangerous than ever before. Bored teens seeking the latest high are only part of the problem. Patients who double down on long-acting prescription narcotics or mix some medicines with one another or with alcohol are vulnerable, too. The escalating death toll from drug use in the U.S. is startling, as a recent overview from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed. Accidental poisoning has now replaced car crashes as the nation's leading cause of fatal injury, and 89 percent of those poisonings result from drugs.

[Imagen: BARTHOLOMEW COOKE Trunk Archive]

The magnitude of the problem has legislators, doctors and public health experts searching for solutions. Last July, President Barack Obama signed into law the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012, nationally outlawing the manufacture, sale and possession of 2C-E and 25 other “designer” recreational drugs. To try to rein in prescription drug abuse, at least 49 states have authorized funding for electronic databases that ultimately aim to identify physicians who overprescribe narcotics, as well as addicts who “doctor shop” to load up on pain relievers or stimulants.

Meanwhile medical toxicologists have surprising advice for emergency room teams treating overdoses: rely less on standard blood and urine tests when trying to identify drugs of abuse because those lab tests can be grossly misleading. Instead, these medical sleuths say, asking sharper questions will likely save more patients.

[Fragmento]

...Federal organizations have started to work on solutions as well. Last July the Food and Drug Administration began requiring drug companies to start educating doctors about the special risks of such prescription drugs. The CDC has called on states to consider monitoring Medicaid or workers' compensation claims “for signs of inappropriate use of controlled prescription drugs.” To help reduce doctor shopping, the CDC says, these state programs might in some cases consider restricting reimbursement for controlled drugs to scripts that come through only one designated prescriber per patient and one designated pharmacy.

Mycyk has started telling the ER physicians he trains that they might save more lives by asking more specific questions than the ones they learned to ask in medical school. “Don't ask, ‘Do you abuse illegal drugs?’” he says. “Most of the drugs people are using today are not illegal. A lot of them are overdosing on drugs that were prescribed by their doctor.”

Instead, Mycyk says, asking questions such as “Have you ever gotten high on cough syrup?” or “Have you ever taken a friend's or relative's pills?” will put you on the right track to more helpful responses. “Most [patients] will do all they can to help you,” he says. “In most cases, landing in the ER was an accident. They don't want to die.”

ver en scientificamerican.com


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