According to 2015 estimates, more than 3 million people aged 12 and older misuse prescription pain medication in the United States. The staggering statistics have become a national public health issue that many groups, including the federal government, are taking steps to address.
“Currently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called for a 20 percent reduction in the manufacturing of opioid drugs. While this is not currently impacting patient care at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC), we do expect to experience shortages in the future.” said Josh Bright, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy Services.
This shortage very well could impact chronic pain patients; however, those patients are not typically seen in the hospital. NARMC is not currently having trouble getting those types of dosage forms. Dr. John Leslie, Chief Medical Officer for NARMC, acknowledges that most patients don’t start pain medications to become addicted, but some individuals have difficulty finding a way to stop opioid use once they start. Those who need help with quitting should discuss concerns with a primary care provider.
“NARMC handled the recent IV fluid shortage with exceptional care, and because we have a detailed process in place to monitor supply trends, we believe we will be able to handle the current opioid shortage, as well. The ultimate goal is to provide safe, quality care to patients,” said Vince Leist, CEO of NARMC.
NARMC will continue to monitor the availability of opioid drugs. If a patient has a concern about the availability of a prescription drug, they should contact their physician or pharmacist.