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Some Minnesota Doctors Say They Are Unfairly Blamed for Prescription Drug Abuse

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Some Minnesota physicians say they are sometimes unfairly blamed for patients’ prescription drug abuse, the Associated Press reports. At a Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) forum, doctors said they feel caught between trying to help patients in pain and attempting to curb abuse.

“Even if you do everything right, you can be burned,” said Dr. Paul Sanford, MMA’s treasurer. “It’s waltzing in a mine field.”

According to Carol Falkowski, a state drug abuse safety officer, only 40 percent of pharmacists and 30 percent of doctors in Minnesota are using the state Prescription Monitoring Program. The system allows users to see if a patient is “doctor shopping” for prescription drugs.

The MMA is considering whether to require doctors to take courses on how to manage pain and addiction, and wants to increase use of the prescription monitoring program, the article notes.

In Minnesota in 2011, 20 percent of admissions to addiction treatment programs in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area were for heroin or other opiates, compared with 8.7 percent in 2005, according to a MMA news release.

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