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.