Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Prescription Drug Abuse: Only Half Of Doctors Use State Programs Meant To Curb 'Doctor Shopping'

International Business Times, March 2, 2015

"With prescription drug abuse on the rise, nearly every state has created a database that doctors and pharmacists can log in to if they want to check up on a patient who seems a little too eager for a bottle of Vicodin – but only about half of doctors are using them, according to a study published by researchers from Johns Hopkins University. These systems, called prescription drug monitoring programs, are supposed to help doctors identify 'doctor shoppers' who go from office to office complaining of pain and then selling off their medication.

'This is an enormous problem. It is in fact an epidemic and it has really skyrocketed from 2000 to the present," says Steven Stack, president-elect of the American Medical Association and an emergency physician at St. Joseph East Lexington in Kentucky. "We have an incredible need to address this as a nation.'

Each day, 46 people in the U.S. die from overdosing on prescription drugs, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. A team of researchers from Johns Hopkins conducted the first nationwide study to examine doctors’ use of the programs aimed at preventing some of these deaths, and published their results on Monday in Health Affairs. The team asked 420 physicians if they were aware that their state offered such a program, and whether they used it." Read More.

For more information on preventing prescription drug abuse, visit our Resource Center here.

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