Ask any physician in Pennsylvania about prescription medication misuse and abuse and they’ll tell you it’s a national problem with the Keystone State one of the worst. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Report from November 2011, Pennsylvania ranks ninth in the nation for drug overdose deaths with 15.1 for every 100,000 population.
While these medications are sometimes stolen from patients, hospitals, and pharmacies, and later sold on the street, what’s equally disturbing is that in some cases doctors are duped to write prescriptions by those running scams, often called doctor shoppers.
At this current time, Pennsylvania physicians are vulnerable to scammers shopping for pills. All states surrounding Pennsylvania have built controlled substance databases that give physicians a strong tool to help identify someone who may be abusing narcotics. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania does not have one.
This concerns the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED). So, as legislation is debated, the organization is taking action to arm physicians with a tool to help separate patients with legitimate pain from those scamming for pills.
To help physicians, PAMED has produced an educational reference booklet that helps physicians identify red flags related to pill-seeking doctor shoppers, while also suggesting screening tools to separate patients with true pain from scammers. Since some scammers may be hooked on prescription medications, the booklet also provides resources for addiction treatment. In addition, the booklet contains information that physicians can provide to patients on how to properly dispose of medications that are no longer needed.
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