CMC physician supports new database designed to combat epidemic of painkiller abuse

[Isanti County News, January 20, 2010] A doctor prescribes a long-lasting narcotic, such as Vicodin, Percocet or OxyContin, to a patient complaining of chronic pain. The patient, with a smaller dosage, faces an empty pill bottle in no time and is denied refills. A search then begins and evolves into a “shopping spree” at area emergency rooms and same day/urgent care clinics—if not the streets for other opiates, such as heroin—to get desired painkillers.

This scenario, a common reality nationally and locally, is the journey of painkiller addicts who go “doctor shopping” to avoid setting off red flags from a particular physician or pharmacy. They will travel miles, making several “shopping” attempts a day to satisfy their drug habit.

However, a new statewide database aims to help and keep these narcotic seekers in check by documenting their every stop—even across health provider lines—so doctors can identify trends, problems and help addicts to recovery. Pharmacies are required to collect patient and doctor information on every prescription filled in order to help control what’s become a national epidemic of painkiller abuse.

Posted on February 13, 2010 in Cambridge Medical CenterIsanti County Newsnewspapers

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