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Feds Hope New Policy Will Help Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

Research Psychiatric Center September 10, 2014

By Lisa D'Souza, KCTV 5

The federal government is rolling out a new policy to combat prescription drug addiction as the epidemic skyrockets.

Doctors say addiction is getting worse here in the metro, too.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is stepping up the number of 24/7 drug drop-off locations across the nation. That means people will be seeing more bins at hospitals, pharmacies and medical centers.

Metro doctors say the move is coming at a desperate time.

Dr. Irfan Handoo at the Research Psychiatric Center said they are seeing a record number of prescription drug addicts.  

He said a lot of these patients are "doctor shopping" to rack up prescriptions, without being noticed.

The most abused prescription drugs are typically opioids or narcotics, like codeine and methadone.

"One of the areas we're seeing the highest spikes in opioid dependence is in areas like Johnson County, where people are affluent and have more money ... worsening problems with opioid addictions. That are really getting progressively worse over the past several years," Handoo said.

Withdrawal symptoms include restlessness and mood swings, but he says it's not always easy to spot.  

"A general feeling that you're crawling out of your skin. And generalized body aches, as well.  Those are some of the symptoms of opioids withdrawals. But many times, people are able to conceal these for years. Sometimes, even from their spouses and loved ones," Handoo said.

If you think you know somebody who might have a problem, Handoo suggests being watchful and talking to them about it.

Missouri is the only state without a prescription drug registry to help doctor's keep tabs on past prescriptions. There are several legislators working to change that.

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