Primary Care Physicians Prescribe the Most Opioid Painkillers

Primary Care Physicians Prescribe the Most Opioid Painkillers
A new study of Medicare data finds primary care physicians prescribe significantly more opioid painkillers than any other type of doctor. The study of data from Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage claims found family practice doctors issued 15.3 million opioid prescriptions in 2013, while internal medicine physicians issued 12.8 million. Nurse practitioners wrote 4.1 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers, HealthDay reports. Physician assistants wrote 3.1 million opioid prescriptions. The results appear in JAMA Internal Medicine . In a news release, lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Chen of Stanford University said, “These findings indicate law enforcement efforts to shut down pill-mill prescribers are insufficient to address the widespread overprescribing of opioids. Efforts to curtail national opioid overprescribing must address a broad swath of prescribers to be effective.” He added, “Being a physician myself, I am acutely aware of the emotional angst that can occur when deciding whether to prescribe opioids to...
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Mix of Drugs Often to Blame for Overdose Deaths in Massachusetts

Mix of Drugs Often to Blame for Overdose Deaths in Massachusetts
The vast majority of overdose deaths in Massachusetts in the first six months of 2014 were caused by heroin or a prescription opioid taken along with some other drug or alcohol, according to NPR . Heroin was involved in 39 percent of the state’s 501 overdose deaths during that period, following by other opioids (37 percent) and the synthetic opiate fentanyl (37 percent). Cocaine was cited in 23 percent of cases, alcohol was involved in 19 percent, and benzodiazepines such as Klonopin and Xanax were involved in 13 percent. Fentanyl was involved in many multi-drug deaths. Fentanyl is especially deadly when combined with heroin or other opioids. Alcohol, cocaine and other prescription medications were all implicated, but to a lesser extent, according to an analysis by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Doctors treating patients in recovery say it is difficult to figure out what to prescribe for...
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The White House Tackles Opioid Addiction With New Plan

The White House Tackles Opioid Addiction With New Plan
President Obama traveled to West Virginia this week to announce steps to curb the rise in deaths from prescription drug overdoses. He is mandating more training of federal doctors and requiring federal health insurance plans to treat addiction, reported The New York Times . In the Times article, a White House official stated that they had “identified prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse as critical problems.” Previously, the Obama administration has worked to address excessive prescribing practices, being mindful that patients experiencing pain, like those suffering from cancer, can get the medicine they need. Currently, the federal government does not regulate the practice of medicine, and only West Virginia and nine other states require specialized training for doctors who prescribe opioids. Deaths from prescription drug abuse total to more than 20,000 people in the United States each year, making it the country’s leading cause of death by injury. Recently, this...
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
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