Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not AllDrone Sets New Record for Transporting Blood SamplesGun Injuries Add Millions of Dollars to Hospital CostsACP Does Not Support Legalization of Assisted SuicideAAP: Few Doctors Provide Firearm Injury Prevention Info in ER9 of 10 Docs Unprepared to Prescribe MarijuanaThis Mistake Can Cost Athletes' Lives in Cardiac ArrestDrills Assess ER Response to Communicable DiseaseDo Nursing Home Workers Change Gloves Often Enough?Minorities Exposed to Dirtier Air, U.S. Study FindsPhysicians Tweeting About Drugs May Have Conflict of Interest'Science Spin' Found Prevalent in Biomedical LiteratureHealth Tip: Overcoming the Obesity EpidemicU.S. Military Surgeons Helped More Than 6,000 Afghan AdultsWhat You Can Do to Help Fight the Opioid EpidemicAre Physicians Obligated to Help on Planes?Median Cost of Cancer Drug Development $648.0 MillionDoes Study Claim a Cure? Beware of Scientific 'Spin'Vaccine Campaign in Poor Countries to Save 20 Million LivesThird Dose of MMR Vaccine Could Help Curb Mumps OutbreaksDocs Should Be Aware of Family Beliefs Regarding NondisclosureIncrease in Medical Exemptions From Immunization in CaliforniaMailed Invitations Increase CRC Screening CompletionMany Americans Getting Medical Care They Don't NeedInsurer Aetna's Envelopes Revealed Customers' HIV StatusHealth Groups Demand 'R' Rating for Movies That Show SmokingGoogle Search for 'Depression' Now to Provide Screening TestPatients' Hearing Loss May Mean Poorer Medical CareFDA May Limit 'Risk Info' in Direct-to-Consumer TV Drug AdsFDA Announces Recall of Some Liquid Pharmaceutical ProductsIs FDA Taking Close Enough Look at Fast-Tracked Drugs?Steep Price Hikes Led to Drop in Use of 2 Heart Drugs at U.S. HospitalsAPA: Medical Discrimination Based on Size Stresses Patients2 of 3 U.S. Patients Keep Unused Painkillers After SurgeryMedical Reality Catches Up to Science FictionFDA Looks to Reduce Nicotine in CigarettesAHA Hands-Only CPR Training Kiosks Available at More Airports$100 Sweetens the Pot for a ColonoscopyJust a Few Vaccine Refusers Could Endanger ManyASCO Addresses Cancer Drug PricingHigh Court Rules Against Interstate Medical LiabilityFewer U.S. Dollars Spent on Cardiac Arrest Research: StudyPainkiller Prescriptions More Prone to Errors If HandwrittenFDA Panel OKs What May Soon Be First Gene Therapy Approved in U.S.Walking Rates Are Key to a Country's Obesity LevelsDocs Should Counsel Even Healthy People on Diet, Exercise, Experts SayHealth Service Use Unchanged From 1996-1997 to 2011-2012Easier Colon Exam Boosts Screening, But Insurers May Not PayMore U.S. Patients Are Recording Their Doctor VisitsMedication Mistakes Have Doubled in U.S. Since 2000: Study
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Checking Patient's Drug History May Help Curb Opioid Abuse

HealthDay News
by -- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
Updated: May 23rd 2017

new article illustration

TUESDAY, May 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors can help stem the U.S. opioid epidemic by checking their patients' drug history before prescribing powerful painkillers, a new study suggests.

Addicts frequently "doctor-shop" in an attempt to obtain opioids such as OxyContin (oxycodone), Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) and Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen).

But, nearly every state now has a database tracking opioid prescriptions, Cornell University researchers said. Doctors can use these databases to check their patients' past prescriptions and identify likely drug abusers.

"The main issue is getting providers to change their prescribing behavior. The majority of opioids that people abuse start in the medical system as a legitimate prescription," said study co-author Colleen Carey. She's an assistant professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell's College of Human Ecology in Ithaca, N.Y.

However, prescription databases only help combat drug abuse when doctors are required by law to check them before writing prescriptions, Carey and her colleagues noted in a university news release.

The researchers found that states that enforced a "must access" policy for prescription drug databases saw a drop in the number of Medicare recipients who got more than a seven-months' supply of medication in just six months. Also, fewer people filled a prescription before their previous supply ran out.

According to the study, the number of Medicare opioid users who received prescriptions from five or more doctors dropped by 8 percent in those states. And the number of people who got opioids from five or more pharmacies fell by more than 15 percent.

The effects of prescription database regulations were most notable in states with the strictest laws, including New York, the researchers said.

New York requires doctors to check the opioid history of "every patient, every time," the researchers said. But even less stringent state laws reduced doctor-shopping, the study found.

The study looked only at Medicare recipients, but the researchers said their findings apply to the general population. They noted, however, that patients who abuse opioids could travel to a state with fewer regulations to more easily obtain their drugs.

The findings will be published in a future issue of American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse provides more information on opioids.