Doctors Seeing Increased Scrutiny and Punishment for Reckless Opiate Prescribing

We always are paying attention to the critical juncture of the opiate epidemic that occurs when a patient is given a prescription to "legally" obtain the addictive and potentially deadly drugs. Increasingly, physicians assistants are getting ensnared in the corrupt prescribing of narcotic drugs, and this is somewhat expected considering their access to granting the drugs combined with the incredible sums that illicit prescribing can generate. The doctors themselves are the ones that we feel particular disdain for, because they have so much more training and have taken the hippocratic oath not to harm their patiens. We’ve written about Lisa Tseng getting arrested right at her office located in a Rowland Heights strip mall in Los Angeles and felt that it was a significant "shot fired" against one of the most guilty perpetrators of the opiate addiction and overdose crisis: the greedy MDs who prescribe addicted men and women unbelievable quantities of opiate drugs. Just a few days ago, in the middle class Long Island neighborhood of Baldwin, Dr. Anand Persaud…

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California Lawmaker Seeks More Oversight of Prescription Drug Deaths

A California state Senator has been working diligently to introduce a bill requiring coroners to report prescription drug deaths to the Medical Board of California. Senator Curren D. Price Jr., who is also Chairman of the Medical Board of California, hopes the new bill will help to identify medical professionals whose prescribing methods may contribute to prescription drug addiction and overdose. The proposed legislation is a response to  an LA Times investigation into coroner reports. The investigation revealed that numerous deaths caused by the overuse of prescription pain medication can be linked to a handful of physicians. The Times examined 3,733 prescription drug related deaths that took place between 2006 and 2011 in the counties of Orange, San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura. It was revealed that 1,762 cases resulted from overdosing on medications that had been prescribed by doctors. A total of 71 doctors were found to have prescribed drugs to at least 3 patients who died from overdose and addiction. Five doctors had prescribed medications to 10…

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Texas Launches Online Tool to Fight Drug Abuse

The State of Texas has added a new weapon to its arsenal in the war against prescription drug abuse and doctor shopping. The Texas Department of Public Safety has responded to the growing prescription drug problem by launching an online tool to identify drug abusers and dealers by tracking prescription painkillers like OxyContin and other controlled drugs. The new tool is an online database called Prescription Access in Texas. Prior to the introduction of the new database, pharmacists sent prescription data to a paper-based system. Getting information out of the old system could take several days or longer. Now more than 100,000 health care professionals and law enforcement officials will be able to find out immediately which medications a Texas patient has received in the past year. In addition to revealing which patients are abusing or dealing drugs, the Prescription Access system can be used to identify doctors who are overprescribing narcotic drugs. The Center for Disease Controls and Prevention has reported that prescription drug overdoses from opioid painkillers…

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California’s Prescription Monitoring System Threatened by Budget Cuts

Two of the biggest cases of prescription drug diversion in California weren't broken open by detective work alone.  Dr. Lisa Barden, an obstetrician from the Coachella Valley, stole patients' identities to fuel her own prescription drug addiction.  Dr. Nazar Al Bussam, was the top provider of illegal prescription drugs in Southern California for three years.  Both doctors were arrested after being flagged by California's prescription drug monitoring system. California's system, known as the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), is the oldest drug monitoring program in the nation. Read more about CURES at the State of California Department of Justice Website. At a time when prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high, California Governor Jerry Brown is threatening to shut down the system in response to budget cuts.  According to authorities, future investigations into unethical doctors and illegal prescriptions would be seriously impacted if the system was no longer updated with prescription information from pharmacies. Three years ago, the CURES database was moved online and made…

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