New Oxy Guidelines For Kids Alarm Lawmakers, But Drs. Say They’re Needed

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision last August to officially approve use and set guidelines for the use of Oxycontin, for certain children as young as 11 has triggered a huge debate among lawmakers, health care professionals, and parents about whether or not the drug is appropriate for treating pain in people under the age of 18. The new guidelines do not “legalize” Oxycontin, per se – prescription opiates have been prescribed for years off-label – but this is the first time there have been recommended guidelines for doctors to prescribe the powerful drug to children suffering from certain conditions that cause chronic pain. Some elected officials, as well as candidates running for office including Hillary Clinton, have echoed sentiments of addiction specialists who say the new guidelines will encourage doctors to expand access to a drug at the center of an epidemic of opiate abuse in the U.S. that was responsible for over 24,000 overdose deaths in 2013. They say health care providers need to focus on alternative…

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Washington State Tightens Doctor Access to Prescription Painkillers

Lawmakers in the state of Washington are using aggressive measures to stem the tide of prescription drug abuse. A new regulation requires doctors to refer patients who are taking high levels of prescription painkillers to a pain specialist if their condition shows no signs of improvement. The painkillers that the regulation pertains to include hydrocodone, methadone, fentanyl and oxycodone (the active ingredient in OxyContin). All of these drugs, which are classified as opioids, are subject to abuse, dependence and addiction. Opioid painkillers are currently the most widely prescribed category of drugs in the U.S. Over the past decade, doctors have increase the number of prescriptions for these drugs by more than 400% despite limited evidence of their effectiveness in treating chronic pain versus the risk of dependence and overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged doctors to lower the levels of opioids being prescribed. Over-prescription has led to the drugs being easy to obtain on the street and contributed to the rising epidemic of opioid addiction…

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