The doctors in the United States are likely to ask adult patients about possible illicit drug use soon, as part of efforts to curb the severe opioid abuse crisis in the country.
The U.S. Preventive Services task Force has prepared a draft recommendation for doctors to ask patients whether they abuse drugs including opioid painkillers. Through this, the affected adults aged 18 or older could be directed to treatment to get over the abuse. The panel has sought comments from public on the recommendations before going to the final stage. The national medical advisory panel has also suggested in the recommendations that doctors inquire about drug use on patient questionnaires in their offices. Doctors' recommendations are important for insurance plans under the U.S. laws.
These recommendations are part of the efforts to oversome the opioid crisis in the U.S. that has grown at an alarming rate. As per National Institute on Drug Abuse's 2017 data, more than 300,000 Americans are estimated to have died of an opioid overdose since 2000. Around 11.4 million people have misused prescription opioids.
For long, the government, federal agencies, and organizations have been working together to find a solution to combat the country's deadly epidemic. According to an AP-NORC poll, conducted in April 2019, 46 percent of Americans think that doctors and dentists are significantly responsible for the problem of opioid addiction, while 34 percent believe the blame is on the government. Sixty three percent blame pharmaceutical companies, while 58 percent blame the users of opioids.
In July, lawyers for the state of Oklahoma urged a judge to hold Johnson & Johnson responsible for the country's opioid epidemic, calling the pharmaceutical giant the "Kingpin" behind the issue. J&J is alleged to have created and fed a need for opioids by manufacturing a mutant poppy and then oversupplying the drugs that created crisis.