Pharmacists Seeing Startling Rise in Gabapentin Prescriptions

Here we go…All we need is another drug to worry about. The opiate epidemic is bad enough as it is. Add to that the benzodiazepine problem and ever-growing methamphetamine epidemic…

we’ve got a huge problem on our hands here people. Instead of it slowing down and our society gaining some traction in dealing with it, the overall drug problem is getting worse.

How do we know it’s getting worse? Because as time goes on, we keep adding more drugs to the list of substances being abused. Back in the day, it was painkillers. Then the painkillers became fentanyl and heroin. That all got added to the benzo problem. Those two epidemics helped create the methamphetamine problem and now there’s a new drug being added to the list. Apparently, pharmacists and addiction specialist have seen an alarming rise in Gabapentin prescriptions and addiction in a few areas of the country.

Gabapentin, also known as Neurontin, is an anti-seizure medication also used to treat neuropathy and “off-label” as a mood stabilizer. Not only does Gabapentin treat pain itself, but addicts are using it in very high doses to enhance the effectiveness of the opiates, muscle relaxers and benzos they’re taking. Basically, they’re adding another drug on top of the drugs they’re already abusing to get higher.

This is insane.

Virginia has had one of the most noticeable rises in the country as far as new Gabapentin prescriptions and early-refill requests go. Sarah Melton, professor of pharmacy practice at ETSU’s Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, is a prominent addiction specialist in the area and she’s highly concerned about the growing problem with Gabapentin. Doctors are over-prescribingthe medication to people who wind up misusing it. “What we’re seeing though is that it’s being prescribed for numerous different disorders that it’s not FDA approved for,” said Melton.

The State of Kentucky has listed Gabapentin as a controlled substance and it has been placed on the DEA watch list in Virginia. Another big problem with the drug is people are requesting early refills quite regularly, which sets off alarm bells with local, state, and federal officials. Pharmacist Mark Flanary said, “You do see that in some instances they do try to get the prescriptions early. We view that as the same way as a controlled. We hold patients to the day for that very reason.” Sadly, there’s also been an increase of pregnant women using the drug and exposing their unborn babies to it who are then born addicted and wind up going through withdrawal.

This is just sad

Another drug added to the endless list of abused drugs in our modern society. Not only are parents, siblings, and grandparents affected by an addict in the family, but unborn children are as well. And no one deserves to be born addicted to drugs. They didn’t choose that. Their mothers did.

It’s unfortunate we’re basically going nowhere in the fight against drug abuse, but I do know one thing. I know that every day I come to work, I see a facility filled with people who desire a better, sober life and I see the successes in the fight against addiction. They might not be widespread, but I do know there are people who are getting better and fighting the “good fight.”

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