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Physician Group Recommends Steps to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

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The American College of Physicians (ACP), one of the nation’s largest medical groups, has released a set of recommendations about how doctors can help reduce prescription drug abuse.

The group made 10 recommendations, including forming a national prescription drug monitoring program so prescribers and pharmacists can check in their own and neighboring states before writing and filling prescriptions for substances with high abuse potential. Currently many states have drug monitoring programs.

ACP also calls for increasing education programs for doctors and patients about prescription drug abuse, and promoting written agreements between doctors and patients being treated for pain. These agreements often describe the treatment, prohibited behaviors, responsibilities of the patient, and points when the treatment will be terminated.

CBS News reports the group recommends that doctors should prescribe controlled substances electronically, instead of on paper, to decrease the chance they will be diverted. Doctors should first consider non-opioid treatment for pain, according to the ACP. The group does not recommend a maximum dosage or treatment time limit.

The recommendations are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

ACP President Dr. Molly Cooke said patients should realize drugs are not intended to relieve all pain. “If that’s what the patient’s mindset is he’s likely going to come back and say, I wasn’t getting enough relief and I doubled the prescription,” she told CBS News.

3 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of kathy
    kathy / February 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I truly believe that the drug companies are reducing their products by reducing the potency of each one so they can make more money because what you have been taking does not work as well as they should so you need to take more than one pill the asprin in low dose does not work as well as it did years ago, antihitimens doent work as well either thus you have to take 2 pills to work thus buying more than needed their goes their profits threw the roof. us buying more pills to correct the amount that should be in the pills being less than they should be.

  2. Avatar of Ken DeCerchio
    Ken DeCerchio / December 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I doubt Congress could reach consensus to actually pass a national PDMP, considering opposition in many states. How about requiring mandatory annual CMEs on addiction, recovery, and pain management? As we move to integrate physical health and behavioral health, physicians need to become more versed on the practice issues associated with prescribing opiate medications for persons with or at risk of addictive disorders.

  3. Michael Shore, M.D. / December 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I strongly favor a national data bank so that patients cannot cross state lines and bypass a state’s monitoring program. I do not believe electronic prescriptions would make much of a difference – diversion generally occurs AFTER the ‘script is filled. Also, and most important, lets not forget about the need to increase and improve access to TREATMENT. This ultimately lowers demand as well!!!
    Dr. Shore

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