How Overprescribing Can Lead to Addiction: Troy Gahm, Gahm’s Pharmacy

Greg interviews Troy Gahm, the Owner and Operator of Gahm’s Pharmacy in Lucasville Ohio. As a licensed pharmacist, Troy was quoted in Dreamland, a novel about the opioid epidemic in America. After founding the pharmacy in 1996, Troy has encountered problems with the opioid epidemic. He talks about what he has witnessed in his community and overprescribing.

Troy explains the complicated issue of doctors over prescribing medication to patients. He explains that dentists usually are the ones to over prescribe, because after the procedure is done they don’t want the patient to come back with issues. Troy believes that to fix the problem we have to retrain the physicians. He explains the problems that can arise from leftover medication, due to over prescribing. “When you have a root canal, you have pain for one day and you take 4 pills. What do you do with the rest of them? Stick them in your cabinet. What did you just do? Leave them for your son or daughter, whoever visits your house, to open your cabinet up and take those pills.”

Troy goes on to discuss what we need to do to end overprescribing. He says that we need to start treating people like we care about them, so they can get through the issue. He also believes that patients don’t always need narcotics for pain treatment. “They may only need narcotics for one day. After that they can get by with Motrin or Tylenol. We need to start doing that.”

Troy advises families to get second opinions and ask their pharmacist for advice. Troy also says that it isn’t necessary to take all of the pills your doctor prescribes, but rather what you need for the moment. “If your doctor gives you a prescription for 100 pills, you don’t have to get 100 pills filled. You can get 10 filled. The others are still there at the pharmacy; you can still come back and get them if you need them. You’re not putting all the pills out there to be potentially stolen or taken or abused by somebody else. Take what you need and leave the rest.”

Troy understands going back and forth to the pharmacy may be a costly issue for some. However, he believes it to be worth it in the end. “If they have to take out two co-pays because they have to come back and get another day’s supply, well it’s going to have to cost them two co-pays. It’s better that, then making another addict out of a fifteen-year-old because we didn’t want his mom to have two $5 co-pays on her insurance.”

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