Prescription drug abuse on the rise in Missouri - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Prescription drug abuse on the rise in Missouri

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HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -

Prescription drug abuse continues to be a growing problem, especially in Missouri.  People are three times more likely to die from a prescription drug overdose that they were nearly 15 years ago and a new report says lax laws could be to blame.  Missouri only follows three of the 10 indicators to help deter prescription drug abuse.  

Officials at Hannibal Regional Hospital said more people come through these Emergency room doors to get help from prescription drug abuse. According to the report, Missouri has the 7th highest drug overdose death rate in the nation, and health officials said something needs to be done. 

"Missouri is the only state in the country that doesn't have something like that to where there is a government entity keeping track of the people who are getting controlled substances from which doctors and so forth," said registered pharmacist Greg Gilmore.  
Gilmore said he was surprised to hear just how many Missourians are overdosing on prescription drugs.  While Missouri may be lax on some laws, Gilmore said there are times the pharmacy itself has to go the extra mile to make sure it's keeping prescription medicine out of the hands of addicts.  
"If something just doesn't seem right about the prescription, we know the patient might've gotten it recently from a different pharmacy and we've made calls before," Gilmore said.  

According to the report, misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers costs the country more than $50 billion a year.  Hannibal Regional Medical Doctor Luvell Glanton Jr. said the state isn't doing enough to stop prescription drug abuse.  
"There are definitely things we can implement that we don't already have currently like a state-wide database that shows when patients are doctor shopping," Glanton said.  

Glanton said communication with local pharmacies is one of the best ways to deter prescription drug use.  He said can easily point out early warning signs of someone who may be addicted.  
"Particularly when you get escalated doses of medication and patients asking for more pills than what you initially prescribe. Patients running out early and asking for refills.  These are both significant warning signs," he said.

In addition to not having a statewide database for those on prescription drugs, the state of Missouri does not require someone to show ID to get a prescription.
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