The U.S. should rethink its approach to people addicted to painkillers, urges panel

The U.S. should rethink its approach to people addicted to painkillers, urges panelAmerican crisis fueled owing to the prescription of narcotic drugs. Now a panel of experts is advising the federal government of the changes in the ways that the physicians are treating pain and the patients coping with pain.

In a report on what should be done to staunch the opiates toll in the United States, a panel of the
National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine clarifies that steps must be taken to prevent the creation of future opiate addicts that will drive some people dependent now on these medications toward street drugs such as fentanyl and heroin.

Thus, it is ethically imperative to couple a law to reduce the lawful access to opioids with an investment in curing the individuals who are already hooked on the painkillers, wrote the panel.

Even as lawmakers in Washington debate it is expected that a healthcare bill help in reducing access to addiction treatment, the expert panel called on states as well as the federal government to give “universal access” to such treatment in hospitals, , jails, prisons and community-based programs.

To reduce harms to opioid users who have now turned to streets for their supply, the panel is urging the states to become tough on illicit drug use. Instead of merely increasing the criminal penalties for drug-related behaviors, the panel said the states should adopt practices such as needle exchanges, that are safe havens for injection-drug users, and to offer broadened access to the opioid-reversal agent naloxone that reduces the overdose deaths and prevents the spread of disease.

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