Policy and Law
DEA: nurses in LTCFs can be agents of prescriber
Source: American Pharmacists Association
Nurses working in long-term care facilities can now communicate prescription information to the pharmacy for Schedule III, IV, and V medications, but not C-II medications, the DEA announced. Pharmacies may dispense controlled substances after a nurse's phone call (based on a DEA-registered prescriber's valid oral prescription) that is promptly reduced to writing by the pharmacist that contains all information required for a valid prescription except for the prescriber's signature.
Prescription Addiction, Diversion, and Abuse
Teens, parents often lie about illicit drug use
In a recent study, researchers surveyed more than 200 teens and 200 caregivers about their drug use and then analyzed their hair for at least one drug. Eighty percent were mothers. The participants were black, poor and from an inner-city urban area. No teens said they'd recently used opiates such as heroin or prescription painkillers, but the hair tests showed that nearly 7 percent had. Among parents, 3 percent admitted using opiates while testing revealed use by 7 percent.
Non-medical prescription drug use more common among rural teens than city dwellers
November 1, 2010 Source: JAMA and Archives Journals
Rural teens appear more likely than their urban peers to use prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, according to a recent report. Thirteen percent of rural teens report ever having used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, compared with 10 percent of urban teens.
Drug testing poses quandary for employers
The growing reliance of Americans on powerful prescription drugs for pain and other maladies suggests that many are reporting to work with potent drugs in their systems, and employers are grappling for ways to address that. What companies consider an effort to maintain a safe work environment is drawing complaints from employees who cite privacy concerns and contend that they should not be fired for taking legal medications, sometimes for injuries sustained on the job.
Opioid education lags as abuse climbs
October 18, 2010 Source: American Chronic Pain Association
Opioid agreements explain the risks and responsibilities involved in using opioids. They set the ground rules, explain safe storage and disposal, and are meant to protect both the patient and prescriber. Yet in a recent survey, only 28% of patients were asked to sign an opioid agreement. Of those asked to sign one, 10% received no counseling and 45% had less than 15 minutes to discuss it with the health care professional.
U.S.campaign aims to combat prescription drug abuse
October 9, 2010 Source: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
In a nationwide campaign to prevent prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings and overdoses, a coalition of U.S. medical, drug and law enforcement agencies is calling on consumers to routinely dispose of any expired and unused medications. To raise awareness, coalition members are sponsoring an event on Nov. 13 called the "American Medicine Chest Challenge," in which citizens purge their medicine cabinets of old prescription drugs and lock up the rest.