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Special News Report About Prescription Drug Abuse

Dec 04, 2013 - 21 comments

The other night, on my local news, they did a feature on Prescription Drug Fraud and Abuse. I found the feature extremely informative, and actually a bit shocking. I would love to know what you guys think. Please share your opinions.

As more and more Doctors Offices, Medical Clinics, Urgent Care, Hospitals, and even Dentists, go to electronic medical record keeping and data bases, it will be much more difficult to doctor shop, and soon all doctors will have access electronically, to all of you medical records. They will simply put in some sort of identification number, like your Social Security Number, and viola, there they are!

One of the major pharmacy chains, I think it was Wallgreens, has a new procedure in place for dispensing narcotic medications. If you are a new customer, or if you are attempting to fill a new prescription for narcotics, they will put a 3 day hold before they will fill the prescription. In that 3 days, they will run a criminal background check on you, call and verify the prescription with your doctor, and check a statewide data base to see any narcotic prescriptions that have been filled in the last year. They are requiring that the prescribing doctor put a diagnosis code on the prescription, so that the pharmacy knows specifically why the doctor prescribed the narcotic. Also, each individual pharmacist has the discretion to decide whether or not they will fill a narcotic prescription for that particular diagnosis. This means that a pharmacist may or may not fill the narcotic pain med for say migraines, or a sprained ankle, etc. They may chose to fill it for end of life cancer patients, or after a major surgery only, for example. In other words, the pharmacist can override the doctor.  

In addition, the penalties for even first time prescription fraud crimes, are carrying stiffer penalties. Less drug counseling, and therapy, and more jail time.

I was very shocked to see this. But, I guess they are not messing around at all anymore. The regulations are getting stricter and stricter. The news report was eye opening, to say the least. I had mixed feelings about it. I don't think I like having a pharmacist having the ability to override my doctor as to what drug I may need. Also, it worries me a bit that my dentist could have access to all of my medical records. I don't need my dentist to know that I sought treatment for a yeast infection, for example.  Or, that my dentist needs to know that I am seeing a psychiatrist for depression. I don't know. I support the need for stronger monitoring for drug fraud and abuse. I get that. But, I think this may be going a bit too far.

What do you guys think? I would love to know your thoughts on this. Thanks!

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by Ben727, Dec 04, 2013
There was a really good episode of Drugs, Inc. about prescription drug abuse where a sheriff in Kentucky was saying that our national policy in the USA was taking a medical problem and making it a law enforcement problem. I personally don't think it serves society or the individual when an addict gets slapped with a felony for prescription fraud. In the absence of any other crime, I believe addict needs help, not jail time and stigmatization.

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by zerokewl123, Dec 04, 2013
Listen all I can say on this is it shows that the goverment just wants to control EVERYTHING.... sorry I do kinda understand to monitor but not to the extremes I have seen and the fact the the natives had it right and then western medicine got ahold of it and changed say opium knocked one chemical off called it vicodine. and taxed it. BS to me but thats just me ....

Avatar universal
by ROSYouralright, Dec 04, 2013
That is taking things to far!! A pharmacist over riding your doctor would be like the teacher over riding the principal!

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by Kbusymom, Dec 04, 2013
Thanks for sharing the info.  I agree with you that prescription databases should be monitored and about not wanting all drs to have access to all your medical records.  That is going way too far in my opinion.  I think this is going to make people scared to tell their drs anything.  It def breaks dr/ patient confidentiality and is going to cause even more stigmatization of addiction.  The whole thing is scary to me, especially the criminalization of addiction over treatment.  Our country is so screwed up.

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by VICourageous, Dec 04, 2013
Yes I agree Rosy..I guess you would have to waste gas driving around to find one that would fill this. I know in my small town they do these sweeps once in a while and then kick some people off there meds when they think they do not need it or it is not used for a certain pain..Like when I got my Methadone prescribed (after I was on the other opiates) they came in and took most of us off of it and said it was only for people trying to get off the H or for Bone cancer. Well I did get it back somehow from another DR. That is when all He111 broke out for me..I should of just stayed off the darn Beast.
I have also read that they are coming up with a swab test from you saliva and they can tell where your Dopamine level is. Then they think they will be able to tell if your Dopamines (D2)  are off and you can become addicted too easy. WELL then keep me away from the Candy, Stores or the Gambling Hall..Ha!!! lol
I do know that they have already been **** this too....Nice Post.

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by VICourageous, Dec 04, 2013
I must have spelled "DOING" wrong..Ha!!!!

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by Sonrissa, Dec 04, 2013
I am just really split on how I feel about this. That is why I journaled about it. I want to know where others are on this issue. I never did anything illegal to get my pills, unless exaggerating my pain level to my doctor to get that refill, or making up an excuse to my pharmacy for asking for my refill a few days early, like I was going out of town for a week, etc, counts. I never got my pills from a dealer, or a friend or relative. However, there were times I thought about it. I considered putting a #1 in front of the 80 amount that I was prescribed. Or once when my doctor did not circle the amount of refills, I thought about circling 3. Or, manipulating the date on the prescription. If I would have had a friend or knew a dealer, I know for a fact I would have bought them or took them if offered. Perhaps, if my family didn't live so far away, I may have gone through a medicine cabinet or two. So, I guess I committed crimes in my head.

I just don't think I am OK with surrendering my privacy, or that a pharmacist can decide and override what my doctor has decided I need. I feel like this puts me in the middle of my doctor and the pharmacist. Given my situation right now, I have really thought about this a lot over the last few days. I don't know how much this will affect me personally, but it could at some point. Writing about it, and seeing your thoughts is helping me sort it all out.

Oh, and by the way, this special report was not just about prescription pain meds, but for any narcotic that gets abused, like Xanax, Valium, and such.

Avatar universal
by ROSYouralright, Dec 04, 2013
I agree with doing a check and atuff but not about the pharmacist playing GOD! That ****** me off just thinking about it

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by Sonrissa, Dec 04, 2013
Wow Vic, a swab to test your saliva for Dopamine levels? Seriously? Yikes!

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by VICourageous, Dec 04, 2013
You know..I just can not even believe that the law would let the Pharmacy over ride a DR scrip..Sure they can double check with the Dr or see if it is early or from a new DR..But to over ride is just something different.

YES!! I have this paper work printed out about the Dopamines and a Swab..I will someday put it in my Journal with the rest of the info I have collected.

All of this is going to make it hard for someone who is in real pain and has never abused there meds. I would like to hear more so I am going to keep my Ears open for now

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by Sonrissa, Dec 04, 2013
I do know for a fact that at least some of this is true. When I first saw my doctor after I broke my leg, she gave me a prescription for Dilaudid. (I never had it filled) I noticed that she wrote a strange number on the top of the paper. I asked the Medical Assistant what the number was for, and she said it was a diagnosis code, and that all pharmacies were requiring this info. I never gave it a second thought, until I saw the news report. Why does my pharmacist need to know my diagnosis? Although, I was on crutches, so it couldn't be too hard to guess. ;)

Avatar universal
by ROSYouralright, Dec 04, 2013
Yea, i don't think it is anyones business but your doctor and yours. The government really is overstepping if you ask me.... Slowly taking all control of our lives....
but that is another topic for another time...
I will research this and see what I can find out as well. Thank you for sharing this Rissa

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by Heather8448, Dec 04, 2013
In my city a lot of pharmacies wont fill new patients roxy's..and if u have been to jail even if its not drug related they can see that, those of u who know why I quit using, mostly because I couldnt find my meds, it was because i went to jail for domestic and no one would fill em...

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by Sandman2, Dec 04, 2013
  The problem is that there is a huge abuse of Narcotic drugs.  There are many doctors (at least in California) who write the prescriptions like candy.  There are addicts who go to many different doctors to get the drugs, and then sell the drugs.  It is a major problem and I doubt that a company like Walgreens would go to the expense that they are doing, unless it wasn't a problem.  It is easier to get a pain killing narcotic, then it is to get Sudafed. In California, you have to show your drivers license and your name goes into a state data base so you can't get it too many times (cause people use it to make meth). Where as you can fill a perscription for a narcotic at drugstores all over the state - day after day after day.
  Ya, it might be an inconvenience.  It certainly is an example of how some have spoiled it for the majority.  But I do think that it is necessary due to the abuse that is going on.

Avatar universal
by vicki595, Dec 04, 2013
Pharmacists yield a lot of power but, in my experiences with them, I haven't seen it really abused. They have to follow the law...they can over ride the doctor at their own discretion, though.  They CAN hold an RX for a period of time if they want to check things out...   The onus is on the pharmacist to cover his butt and not fill a narcotic RX for anyone who is suspicious to him/her or is in the data base as an abuser. It's illegal to dispense a narcotic to an addict and has been for ages.  

The one that really bothers me is an insurance company making medication decisions. I hate the restrictions they put on the use of any med...I think THATS the doctor's place.   The answer to a lot of this is not using insurance and always paying cash right from the start!  But I think it's mandatory to have insurance coverage for medication now and the reason is to keep track of all this...For years the government has kept track of rx's for those on Medicaid. They send letters to any doctors prescribing narcotics for a patient, showing the entire RX history and have for at least 30 years.

We need to work hard to protect our privacy. I don't have a lot to hide but it's the point that I don't want my medical history shared all over the place!  Hospitals share pt info to computer data bases of many physicians who have privileges at that hospital, even if you've never seen that doctor...we can prevent some of this by being careful what we sign when giving consent for treatment at the hospital or doctor's office.

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by Sonrissa, Dec 05, 2013
Thank you all for your perspective on this. It gives me some things to consider. I typically jump to conclusions, and then when I actually take some time to really think about it, and get some input, I often change my mind or perspective.

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by laurel453, Dec 05, 2013
humm those who have abused are also sick, why don't they take more measures to treat them ?

i don't think the answer is punishing all the patients and their medical privacy. That's to me is sacred between a doctor and a patient..Why don't they control alcohol, weapons the same way ?  I don't know, i don't live in the US but i would not like having someone in my family in pain and having to wait three days to get the meds or worse being denied the medication because they have discovered they live with an ex addict, ie ( you will reach this point... )

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by Sonrissa, Dec 05, 2013
Does anyone else have any thoughts on this to share?

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by CRSeaside, Dec 11, 2013
Hi Sonrissa- I do not like all of this Spying.
   The special on t v sounds interesting.
My view, for example, my husband grows his hair long for a charity called Locks for Love. They make human hair wigs for children born without the capability to grow hair, cancer patients ect. He has 12" cut every 2years.
     So, a pharmacist that is Prejudiced against Long Haired Men, would automatically deny my husband his Dr ordered Prescription.  The Dr would know my husband. This is way too much control in the hands of some idiot working at CVC Drug store. I've been to a chain drug store where the pharmacist could Barely speak English, F.o.b. & certainly didn't understand culture in America.
    The whole Obama- [email protected] is scary enough.  Pamela. (Maxy)

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by jugglin, Dec 19, 2013
It is one thing to access pharmaceutical data across the board (i.e. did you fill a hydro rx two days ago at another pharmacy?). However, I do not want my medical info shared across the board...doesn't HIPPA come into play?  Also, had a friend who was a toxic, rx drug-abusing Pharmacist for 20 years until he was finally caught by Feds.  I will never doubt his intellect as a Pharmacist when I had questions, but would not want somebody like him questioning my Dr. It is one thing to call and check, but to refuse all together makes me raise my eyebrows!

Avatar universal
by hopefullycleanagain, Jun 05, 2014
I know my comment is a little late sonrissa, but I just came across your journal entry and found this very interesting.  I definitely come from the standpoint that this is too invasive. Like others mentioned, I don't feel my entire medical history is every doctor or pharmacist's business. I live in a small town, the new pharmacy tech, who happens to have her son in the same class as my daughter, does not need to know I had a dui 20 years ago. Jeez.......I understand the concept behind it all, but an addict (like myself), will find a way to get their doc without my entire local medical community having to know my business.  I agree with jugglin, where does hippa come in to play with all of this??  I also believe as stated by someone above, this will cause patients to be less open with their doctors, and that's a shame.  Michelle

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