(TERRE HAUTE) - The most abused drugs in America are actually prescription drugs, specifically narcotic pain killers.
WTHI reports, as the level of abuse rises, so do the number of overdose deaths. But state leaders are working to change that.
Beginning this November, the Indiana Medical Licensing Board will implement new rules for prescriptions for opioids, or narcotic pain killers - like Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Methadone, Oxycoin, Norco.
In the last decade, narcotic drug overdoses have skyrocketed. In 2000, the U.S. saw 4000 deaths related to opioid overdoses.
Just ten years later, overdoes deaths quadrupled.
Why the increase? These drugs are highly addictive and have the potential to be fatal shuttting down the part of the brain that allows a person to breathe.
The hope is these new rules will reduce the number of prescriptions for narcotic drugs, thus, limiting the number of pills falling into the wrong hands and reducing deaths at the hands of these drugs.
Patients will have to sign an agreement with their doctor pledging to take the drugs as prescribed, subject themselves to urine drug testing and make more frequent doctor visits.
Doctors must also keep more detailed record in a patient's chart even to the point of defending their decision to prescribe the drugs in the first place.
Another rule which will be implemented is that doctors and patients will be required to exhaust all other means of pain relief before turning to prescription drugs.
This includes trying things like physical therapy, tai chi, and counseling.
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