June 1, 2012 8:46 am
When a new patient comes into Dr. Shawn Jones’ office in Paducah, Kentucky complaining of pain and asks for a specific drug without talking about other symptoms, Jones gets suspicious. ”The first thing they say is they’re in horrible pain and they need pain medicine,” said Jones. “The other thing that gives it away is they want to tell you what works – they tell you they want Percocet. They don’t talk about their symptoms – they don’t say, ‘Oh, two weeks ago I hurt my back.’” These are the types of red flags that can send Kentucky doctors to check a state database to see if a patient is “doctor shopping” for addictive painkillers.
May 29, 2012 1:11 pm
In 2009, for the first time, the number of deaths from drug overdoses surpassed those from highway traffic accidents, according to Gail Hayes, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She said misuse of prescription medication has been largely the cause. About 75 percent of overdoses involved prescription drugs, she added.
May 8, 2012 10:23 am
Both medical and recreational use of such opioid drugs has increased across the United States over the past couple of decades, as have deaths due to painkiller overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 14,800 Americans died of an opioid overdose in 2008 — three times the number of overdose deaths 20 years earlier.