MSP Compliance Blog

Expert summary, analysis and recommendations on issues impacting Medicare Secondary Payer compliance.

High-Risk Opioid Abuse Is Just As High In Prescribed Users

Posted on March 27, 2014 by Rita Wilson

In this JAMA research letter findings show that doctor prescribed opioids cause over-doses just as much, if not more, as non-medical use of prescription pain medicine. People who are at the greatest risk for abuse are those being prescribed pain medication. CDC’s new analysis shows that while non-medical users abuse opioids, prescribed users are even more likely to purchase opioids illegally.
Precautions need to be in place to prevent this type of abuse. Educating physicians and the general public about the dangers of opioid abuse is a crucial step in prevention. Some states are taking steps to prevent opioid abuse by implementing electronic databases that track patient history. This prevents a patient from filling multiple prescriptions at different pharmacies, which is one of the most common occurrences in opioid abuse.

“Many abusers of opioid pain relievers are going directly to doctors for their drugs,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Health care providers need to screen for abuse risk and prescribe judiciously by checking past records in state prescription drug monitoring programs. It’s time we stop the source and treat the troubled.”

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