Prescription Drug Problems Plague Kansas

In our last post, we explored how Missouri’s lack of a prescription drug monitoring program may be contributing to prescription drug abuse in the state — a fact that should concern all Missouri and Kansas employers.

But it’s important to note that just because a prescription drug monitoring program is in place doesn’t mean that abuse can’t occur, so employers should always stay vigilant. Kansas is the perfect example of this.

Here’s what Kansas City employers need to know about prescription drug abuse in Kansas.

Prescription Drug Abuse Still a Concern in Kansas

Does the Prescription Drug Monitoring Work?

Implemented in 2011, K-TRACS, short for Kansas Tracking and Reporting of Controlled substances, is designed to monitor the prescription and distribution of Schedule IIIV controlled substances and other drugs of concern, preventing “doctor shopping” or illegal prescription refills. The program tracks not only the medications dispensed within state borders, but also those reported by other pharmacies and dispensers. Doctors and pharmacists can access the online K-TRACS system, which unifies databases used by doctors and pharmacists, 24/7.

Kansas PillsWhile Kansas is impressively the eight-lowest state when it comes to deaths caused by drug overdose, experts agree that K-TRACS is not flawless, prescriptions are still numerous, and prescription drug abusers have found other ways to fuel their addictions. Data supports this: according to the CDC, Kansas matches the nationwide average for prescription of opiod medications (94 prescriptions per 100 people). Officials at Kansas’ Center for Change, an addiction treatment center, have seen an influx of patients requiring methadone treatment to combat their prescription drug abuse. Plus, the number of drug overdose fatalities in Kansas has tripled since 1999, despite the implementation of prescription drug monitoring.

It seems that K-TRACS needs to be revisited and readjusted now that prescription drug abuses have adapted to the law. After all, K-TRACS can’t monitor one of the primary ways prescription drug abusers get their stash — their friends’ and family members’ medicine cabinets.

SAMHSA’S Prescription Drug Abuse Academy

Underscoring the urgency of Kansas’ prescription drug issues, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) invited the state to participate in their national prescription drug abuse academy. The federal program was designed to increase access to intervention and treatment resources and help states develop strategies for treatment and prevention of prescription drug abuse.

Hopefully, the 10 Kansas delegates who attended the Academy in August 2014 were able to devise better strategies to address the growing prescription drug problem in the state.

Fight Prescription Drug Abuse, Kansas!

Kansas employers: worried your workforce might be harboring a prescription drug addiction? ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City North can help. We offer workplace drug testing in Missouri and Kansas, and we work with certified Medical Review Officers to ensure that any prescription drug use detected was from a legally-prescribed medication. To get started, call us today at (816) 399-4597!

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