The epidemic Covid-19 (Coronavirus) broke out at the end of 2019. Ever since, everyone just wants to save themselves from contracting the disease, be it drug-addicts or hypertensive patients.
Any carelessness in choosing the method not only affects the patients but also has an impact on the specialist consultant.
As necessity is the mother of invention, telemedicine is common in the prevailing situation. The treatment of drug addicts after consultation with a specialist in a distant place has been an old custom.
Utilizing computer or satellite links was a good practice adopted by professionals. Digital care channels include video conference screens and emails for a healthy future for drug addicts.
The Alarming Plight of Rural American Drug Abusers
When it comes to narcotics and illicit drug usage, the condition of the USA is alarmingly bad. Drug addicts have to take more doses than before because they do not get relief from pain by taking the previous day dose. When drugs don’t exhibit the same results, addicts resort to increasing the dosage.
As a result of this vicious cycle of pumping in more and more doses every time, more than 130 people in the United States die each day. In 2007 alone, over 47,000 Americans passed away after overdosing on opioids, heroin, morphine, and codeine.
That same year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that 1.7 million suffered from drug abuse disorders and health problems.
The number of opioid-related deaths increased by 325% between 1999 and 2015, according to findings published by Pew Trusts.
Telemedicine: Drug Addicts Find Solace Amidst the COVID Crises
In 2017, President Trump announced a policy change that would allow doctors to prescribe medication from a distant area. The new policy does not require an in-person appointment. It brings treatment for drug addicts, rather than struggling patients finding the time and funds for treatment.
A 2017 study of patients in Maryland described no significant difference in the effectiveness of treatment as face-to-face and telemedicine provided care or treatment provided from a distance.
Legal Constraints in Pursuing Telemedicine
Providers often hesitate to pursue telemedicine as a treatment approach due to legal uncertainties.
The policy declaration did not entirely elaborate on the mode for taking advice from a consultant specialist who is far away from a patient or a drug addict.
There was a conflict in the rules and regulations of law. The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General must agree on the fact that controlled substances are allowed to be prescribed remotely. And they must renew their agreement every 90 days.
Moreover, the Haight Act forbids providers from remotely prescribing controlled substances unless they conduct an in-person consultation with the patient first. The law was constituted to disallow and prevent online pharmacies from carelessly selling controlled substances.
There was also a shortage of people in the workforce. There was a shortage of psychiatric specialists, consultants, drug-addiction consultants, and medical experts in rural areas. Few doctors want to go to isolated and far-flung areas.
The Obstacles To Overcome
The department of Health Resources and Services Administration has found that over 90% of psychiatric specialists are practicing in metropolitan areas. There was a shortage of care providers, drug-therapists, and doctors over 45% in 2018 in rural areas.
Telemedicine can fulfill the deficiency to some extent only but not all. Insurance billing by legislation takes up so much time, it’s also a hurdle.
Consultants, medical specialists, and experts should comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act by ensuring that their privacy and security parameters are up-to-date according to the law.
They must also have the correct state clinical licenses to meet the prescribing parameters and have a secure internet connection. For all of these requirements, heavy expenses have to be incurred.
The outflow of resources may be very high but is, undoubtedly, the best way to control drug abuse and further addiction.