Oxy Watchdog

Keeping An Eye On OxyContin

Posts Tagged ‘doctor shopping’

Fla. police, pharmacists align to curb drug abuse in state

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 25, 2010

In an effort to decrease the growing prescription drug abuse problem in Florida, county sheriff departments have reached out to pharmacists with positive results, reports this article in the Chipley Paper. After one sheriff wrote a letter last year, other departments have used it as a template requesting pharmacists to use extra precaution when filling prescriptions for highly abused painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and other narcotics. In response, some pharmacies have adopted a blanket policy in which they will not fill a prescription from out of town, while others will call the physician to verify the legitimacy of the prescription. According to the article, oxycodone was responsible for 1,948 Florida deaths in 2009 and the state has faced a number of issues with its prescription monitoring program and with doctors’ fraudulent prescribing practices.

To read about prescription drug abuse in Florida, go here.

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Makers of Oxy contribute to prescription monitoring programs

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 22, 2010

Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin, contributed $200,000 towards the support and implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs earlier this week, according to this article from News-Medical.net. The monies were contributed to the non-profit National Association of State Controlled Substances Authorities and will go toward grants which assist states to maintain prescription monitoring programs, the Association’s main focus. In the article, a Purdue representative states that the pharmaceutical company has been supporting appropriately-designed monitoring programs to help reduce the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs. According to the article, the Association will manage the funding of grants and Purdue will have no input in the final selection process. Though OxyContin abuse has skyrocketed in the U.S. and abroad, Purdue Pharma makes a reported $3 billion per year on the opiate painkiller.

Read more about prescription monitoring programs here.

Posted in Pharmaceutical Industry | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

States move closer to sharing prescription databases, curbing doctor shopping

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 19, 2010

Beginning next year, states in the U.S. will edge closer to unifying their prescription drug monitoring programs to share information and potentially cut down on doctor shopping, reports this article from CBS Business News. Though interstate prescription database sharing has been discussed for some years, the inconsistencies among each state’s program make unifying the system challenging, according to this report from the Council of State Governments. Because prescriptions drugs are the second-most abused drugs in the nation behind marijuana, nearly every state now has an existing or pending monitoring program aimed at curbing the epidemic.

Read about the Congressional caucus that examined interstate drug abuse here.

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Congress examines interstate prescription drug abuse

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 7, 2010

In the midst of an ever-growing prescription drug abuse epidemic in the U.S., a congressional caucus met late September to examine interstate cooperation of prescription monitoring programs to better prevent doctor shopping, reports this article form Wicked Local Watertown.

Massachusetts Senator Steven Tolman testified before the caucus about the importance of sharing prescription data among states. Tolman oversees a state in which opiates like heroin and OxyContin are now the leading cause of death for young people, causing nearly 15 such deaths per week.

“Oxy hijacks your brain,” Sen. Tolman told OxyWatchdog in a July 2010 interview. “It grabs you. And it’s $80 a pill versus $4 for a bag of heroin. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen, and it’s in every community.”

To read more about prescription drug abuse monitoring programs, go here.
Read about Mass. struggle with OxyContin here.

Posted in Policy & Regulation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Fla. doctors find few repercussions in fraudulent prescribing practices

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 3, 2010

More than a fourth of doctors in Florida found to have illegally prescribed medication are still practicing and prescribing without repercussions, reports this investigation by the St. Petersburg Times. The in-depth investigation found that the system for identifying and disciplining the doctors is slow and ineffective, doing little to curb a prescription drug abuse epidemic that kills seven Floridians per day. Though some of the doctors prescribed the drugs for illicit reasons, most were certified professionals taking advantage of the lucrative dealing. Whats more, the state’s prescription drug monitoring program that went into effect Oct. 1 leaves loopholes that do not address the trend.

Read about Florida’s prescription drug monitoring program here.
Information on pill-related overdoes in Florida can be found here.

Posted in Crime, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Australia struggles with booming Oxy abuse, doctor shopping

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 2, 2010

An investigative report in Australia this week shone a light on the country’s growing oxycodone abuse problem, one that closely mirrors the epidemic-like situation in the U.S. According this report from ABC Four Corners, there are 1.8 million new prescriptions for the opioid-based drug every year, and the majority of addiction and recreational uses stems from doctor shopping. Those trying to obtain multipal prescriptions for the drug often know the system better than the doctors themselves, and frequently take advantage of the government-subsidized health program to receive the prescriptions at a deeply discounted rate. They then sell them for enormous profits.

To watch the report, go here.

Read about the increase of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. here.

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Watchdog Reports: Panel says doctors, Internet main instigator of prescription drug abuse

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on September 24, 2010

Two large bottles of liquid oxycondone proved a powerful visual for the practice of over-prescribing pain medication that leads to or aids in prescription drug abuse at Wednesday’s panel presentation discussing the growing national trend, hosted by Chico State University in California.

The three-hour panel presentation was put together by Not in our Town Glenn County, managed by Jim Bettencourt and attend by 60 students, parents and community members. OxyWatchdog contributor Esmeralda F. Ramirez was there to hear what the panel had to say.

According to Bettencourt, the irresponsibility of doctors prescribing an excess of a drug is not uncommon and many physicians do not screen patients to see what is in their bodies. When a patient in pain is asking for a large amount of Vicodin, for example, the physician should ask for a simple urine test to check for existing medication in the patient’s system and prescribe the necessary amount of drugs, he said.

When patients want more than what they are prescribed, it’s a sign that they have become addicted, said Salvadore Biondolillo of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, which is sponsoring this Saturday’s Take-Back Day. A classic example, he said, is a patient that has been taking hydrocodone, then switches to oxycodone, then OxyContin, and finally to heroin because it is much cheaper than prescription drugs.

A dangerous online world

If someone with an addiction cannot get enough of their prescription drug of choice from a physician, they go online, according to Biondolillo. Websites are one of the reasons prescription drug abuse has been increasing in the past few years, he said: there are sites that contain a multitude of information for many kinds of prescription drugs, and it is difficult to monitor all of them. Biondolillo refers to the Internet as “the perfect storm” because prescriptions that come from overseas are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or are often placebos, he said.

Drugs next door

Another way addicts find prescription drugs is through friends, family or street sells, Biondolillo said. When physicians prescribe a excessive amount of drugs, there are bound to be leftovers, said Lee Snook, medical director of the Metropolitan Pain Management Consultants Inc. There are a lot of cases in which the leftovers are divided and sold on the street or are given for free to friends and family as experimentation, he said.

A generation of young addicts

The best place to discuss and educate the community about the rising problem of prescription drug abuse is in colleges throughout the U.S., according to Susan Foster, vice president and director of policy, research and analysis at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA). College is where young people start to experiment, she said, and prescription drug abuse on many college campuses is rampant.

One interesting sidenote: a study by CASA found that in the early 1990s, those that used prescription drugs to get high were people who had already been using illicit drugs such as cocaine or heroin, Foster said. In the early- to mid-2000s, however, the study showed that prescription drug abuse was coming from high school and college students, she said. They were experimenting with those drugs, replacing marijuana as the experimentation drug historically common among younger generations.

There are different reasons why people begin abusing illicit drugs and other substances, Foster noted. But when it comes to prescription drugs, advertising – to which young people are particularly susceptible – plays a role because it creates a mindset that everything can be cured with a pill.

“We have to change the culture of this disorder,” Foster said.

Pills as life-threatening as guns

Although the choice is always up to the individual, parents play a big role in helping their children stay away from prescription drugs, according to Snook. Prescription drugs are like guns, he said. They both kill, and they both need to be locked away from children and disposed of properly if they are not needed anymore.

Snook, for his part, tries to help people recover because he himself is a former addict and understands the hardships associated with addiction.

“I see Satan’s eyes in the person I’m trying to save,” Snook said.

By Esmeralda F. Ramirez, exclusive to OxyWatchdog

Posted in Informational, Surveys & Statistics, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fla. drug monitoring program faces delay, criticism

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on September 16, 2010

Florida’s new prescription drug monitoring program may be put on hold due to a bid dispute despite the increasing rate of drug abuse in the state, reports this article in the St. Petersburg Times. One of the companies that lost out on the bid to create the program is now claiming the state health department’s selection process was unfair. What’s more, the program has already faced criticism over loopholes that could allow for doctor shopping. Florida is one of about 12 states in the U.S. without a prescription drug monitoring program, yet prescription drugs are now the number one cause of overdose in the state.

To read more about prescription drug monitoring programs in the U.S. from the Drug Enforcement Administration, go here.

Posted in Litigation, Policy & Regulation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Seattle hospitals ban use of OxyContin

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on September 1, 2010

Two emergency rooms in Seattle, Wash. will no longer prescribe Schedule II narcotics – including OxyContin – to treat pain. Swedish Hospital Cherry Hill’s ER Director Russell Carlisle, Ph.d., told KUOW News that the ban is a form of “tough love” to prevent patients from becoming hooked on the highly addictive pain medications, and also a way to curb existing abuse. Instead, doctors will be prescribing non–narcotic, non-addictive pain medication like acetaminophen or less addictive Schedule III drugs such as codeine. Though Schedule II drugs still have their place in pain treatment, Carlisle says the need for OxyContin and hydrocodone are debatable in an emergency room.

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Strengthened Mass. law targets Oxy abuse

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on August 25, 2010

Through an updated electronic monitoring system, Mass. doctors will keep closer tabs on potential prescription drug abuse, including OxyContin–the abuse of which is a particular problem in the state. According to DOTmed News, the law will limit doctors prescribing unnecessary drugs, increases the number of drugs that are monitored, and report when patients are receiving the same prescription from multiple sources, among other changes. At least 9,000 Mass. residents are suspected of engaging in “doctor shopping” annually, reports the GovMonitor. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the state joins 34 others in the U.S. with existing prescription monitoring programs.

Decisions leading up to Mass. prescription monitoring program can be found here.

Reports on opiate abuse in Mass can be read here.

Read about Oregon’s implementation of the program here.

Posted in Litigation, Policy & Regulation, Trends | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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