>>CBS News: Why is it so easy for people
to become addicted to prescription drugs?>>Dr. David Sack: Prescription drugs are
narcotics. They’re very similar to heroin and morphine and how they work in the nervous
system. And, they produce an intense sense of relaxation and euphoria, which is very
attractive. What’s happened though, between 1990 and 2000, was that four times as many
people started abusing prescription narcotics because they were more available. They were
more widely prescribed and there were fewer restrictions on them.
>>CBS News: So, what about a solution to this problem? If a doctor prescribes a prescription
medication, he or she has no way of knowing how many other doctors have prescribed medicines
for the same patient.>>Dr. David Sack: Well, you know, that’s
a really big problem, doctors take their patients on faith, they take their word. And, so, if
someone is going from doctor to doctor, they’re not going to know it. I think that it starts
with asking every patient if they have a history of alcohol problems, or other drug problems,
because those patients are much more likely to abuse narcotics if they’re prescribed.
I think the second thing is that patients frequently will start to call doctors for
early refills and that’s another indication that there may be something wrong.