SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) released a comprehensive plan Monday to address the misuse and abuse of powerful opioid prescription medications.
Due to their high potential for addiction, opioids are classified as Schedule II drugs. The Medical Society developed the report, “Recommendations for Deterring Improper Use of Opioids”, for the Illinois House Task Force on the Heroin Crisis, chaired by House Democratic Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie), as a framework for Illinois legislation.
Illinois physicians suggest taking a pro-active approach to maintain Illinois’ low rate of prescribing oxycodone — a powerful medication.
Of the total oxycodone prescriptions issued nationwide in 2013, Illinois had a per capita use of only .05, ranking 50th in the United States.
By contrast, Tennessee had over six times as much utilization of oxycodone per capita, ranking at third in the nation with a .31 utilization rate per capita.
The ISMS recommends expanding and strengthening Illinois’ Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), a statewide data base that prescribers can check to prevent “doctor shopping.”
Presenting new opportunities for continuing medical education for opioid prescribers, promoting safe medication disposal sites, and increasing access to naloxone, a medication used to counteract opioid and heroin overdose.
Several Illinois communities have initiated programs to promote naloxone availability; however, it is not readily available without prescription in most areas. Illinois must make naloxone more accessible to law enforcement, family members of at-risk patients and other first responders.
Opioid abusers commonly obtain medication from a friend or family member’s medicine cabinet.
Expanding patient education and options for medication disposal will help keep addictive medications out of abusers’ hands.