According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:
70% of youth who abuse prescription drugs admit to getting them from family or friends.
FlexScripts Administrators monitors the usage of certain drug categories. One of these drug categories focuses on the medications within pain management and the excessive use of pain medications such as Oxycontin®, oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl. It has been identified that 70% of the illegal drug usage consists of these prescription medications.
The New Gateway Drugs
Law enforcement has noticed a trend away from the traditional gateway drugs of alcohol and tobacco to prescription medications. Part of the problem is that prescription drug abuse is perceived as “less serious” than tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs because prescription drugs are originally obtained legally.
Many individuals think these drugs are safe because they have legitimate uses. However, taking them without a prescription to get high or “self-medicate” can be dangerous as well as addicting as using street narcotics and other illicit drugs.
As published in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (September 2007), for the first time ever, there are as many new abusers (12 and older) of prescription drugs as there are of marijuana.
Prior Authorization and Clinical Review
Knowing these facts, FlexScripts Administrators has implemented a strategy to put these categories on prior authorization status and clinical review for appropriate utilization. It is our intent that members that need these medications will obtain them.
However, if FlexScripts Administrators can assist in saving a life and stop potential abuse this program has been successful.