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NC Doctors Who Overprescribe Addictive Painkillers Fuel Deaths

Of the 100 counties in North Carolina, 33 have more than 18 per 100,000 people die from drug overdoses, 52 counties see between 10 and 18 per 100,000, and 15 see 10 per 100,000 or less. North Carolina and Federal officials have been trying to reduce the number of deaths for some time and have targeted many different elements through public health and law enforcement. But now they’re after the doctors.

Florida used to be the U.S. center for ‘pill mills’ – a medical clinic that people could rely on getting addictive painkillers from with little scrutiny. People came from all over the U.S. to get prescription drugs – usually addictive painkillers – so they could satisfy their own habits as well as selling the pills to others back in their home state.

That was pretty much knocked out by law enforcement, the clinics closed, and some of the doctors arrested.
In North Carolina, they’re not dealing so much with pill mills as they are with doctors who are having a hard time changing their ways.

In the NC Medical Board’s mission statement, they say “Over the last decade opioid sales have increased in parallel with an increase in the morbidity and mortality associated with these drugs.” They’re obviously talking about legal sales – sales through doctors – not dealers on the street. Those sales aren’t tracked.

You’d think that would be clear enough, and enough incentive for doctors to make some changes in their prescribing habits.

However, even though there’s a prescription monitoring database which doctors and pharmacists can use to look up someone’s history before they give them a prescription, it’s use is not mandatory and only 6 percent of doctors, pharmacists and other who should be using the system actually do.

The doctors said the system was too cumbersome to use.

As if making a little extra effort was too much trouble – even given the number of people who are dying.

The system has been changed so it’s not so cumbersome, and a few more doctors are using it. But the government also plans on making it mandatory. That has helped in a lot of other states, and will do so in NC as well.

It’s a shame it takes the fear of being prosecuted to get doctors to act.

The state Medical Board has also issued guidelines on using safe alternatives – like yoga and exercise.

I’m sure there are a lot of doctors in NC who would recommend yoga, and maybe even chiropractic and acupuncture, for pain relief – and a chance to handle the basic physical situation that’s causing the pain – but can you imagine some southern good ol’ boy recommending yoga? Not likely. They probably see alternatives as pure quackery.

If I lived in NC, one of the first things I’d do is find a progressive doctor – one who’s not just stuck in the old ways they were taught in medical school but is actually interested enough to branch out and look for less dangerous solutions.

Physicians who care enough – and aren’t afraid to step outside the box a little – should investigate alternatives to keep the abuse, addiction and deaths to a minimum.

And anyone who is having trouble with prescription drug addiction should contact us at 855-889-0555 to find out how to get into drug addiction treatment before they or someone they care about becomes one of the statistics.

One response to “NC Doctors Who Overprescribe Addictive Painkillers Fuel Deaths”

  1. Jean Price says:

    Do you know what this type of headlining and rhetoric is doing to law abiding people with long term life limiting pain? It is seriously leaving us bed bound and in tears because our pain relievers are being rationed down to inappropriate numbers or stopped entirely!! But not because we ever abused them! Family doctors are afraid to prescribe, even after ten years of complient history! So pain management specialists, many of whom are anesthesiologist who never learned or practiced much hands on care, are now the only option…at much higher copays for people and more inclined to use expensive, invasive treatments that have little proven effectiveness!and have already been tried by many people. This include our military who have been injured in the service of our country and its appalling! Even terminally ill patients are having their pain medications cut off or reduced to a ridiculous level! How does this help your cause? IT DOES NOT!! But it’s happening—because of the sensationalized and inaccurate view of opioid use and the addiction issues. The statistics are skewed, listing prescription meds as cause of death even if it was actually heroin laced opioids, and not legally obtained!! Only 2 to 3% of patients who were legally given pain medications for long term or chronic pain ever turn to abuse. Most are conscientious people who comply with their doctors orders and use the medication to function more ably and to take an edge off the pain. They don’t get high, they don’t pass out or lay around all day. They shower more regularly, read books to their kids, do laundry and cook a little, they might even work some or go for a walk with their spouse. They do all this in pain yet the medications help them just enough to move better and be able to participate in life. And be more functional. They don’t escape or dull their mental anguish…because they’re not addicts. They’re people with documented multiple painful medical comditions who are trying have a quality life within the boundaries of their pain. These regulations are literally killing people…many suicides of people in pain are beginning to happen…for no other reason than the hopelessness of living with severe UNTREATED PAIN, due to the emphasis and interference of the CDC, the DEA, and government in pain care. They are inot the reason for the rise in addiction and overdoses, and your methods will only hurt them, not the addicts! Addicts will continue to use drugs and die because our support system for mental illness is ineffective and expensive. The impact addiction is making on people with pain (who now are humiliated and abused by doctors, pharmacists, and hospital staff) will be just another tragedy in this country. And a needless one!! I know addicts need help…but denying those same medications to those in pain who also use Physical therapy, relaxation, acupuncture, spinal injections’ distraction therapy, imagery, and a whole host of other modalities..well, it’s just plain criminal. And it’s discrimination against humane patient care. Please stop making our lives worse in your attempts to help addicts. Separate the two issues or neither will be helped! And those with pain will suffer the most! Please!

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