Nearly 30% of Opioid Prescriptions Lack Documented Reason

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Nearly 30% of Opioid Prescriptions Lack Documented Reason

opioid prescriptions

As researchers continue to examine today’s opioid crisis, they take a look at the role doctors may play. A recent study found that nearly 30 percent of opioid prescriptions in U.S. clinics or doctors’ offices lack a documented reason.

According to the study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, opioids were prescribed in almost 809 million outpatient visits over a 10-year period. For about 3 out of every 10 patients, there was no record of either pain symptoms or a pain-related condition and it was unclear why a physician chose to prescribe an opioid or whether it was justified, Dr. Tisamarie B. Sherry, lead author of the study and an associate physician policy researcher at RAND, told CNN.com. “The reasons for this could be truly inappropriate prescribing of opioids or merely lax documentation,” she said.

While these findings could lead to stricter prescribing guidelines, they could also cause “unforeseen consequences,” Tim K. Mackey, an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Global Health Policy Institute, told CNN.com. Namely, new guidelines may prompt people to turn to the Internet and other illicit channels to get pain meds and this will make it even more challenging to control the epidemic.

This is because Twitter’s terms of use prevent researchers who use machine-learning and Twitter’s public application programming interface to detect illicit online activity to share their findings with law enforcement. “This leaves regulators like the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Justice in the dark about how they can cut off this dangerous channel of access,” said Mackey. “That may continue to fuel the opioid crisis even after we make strides in other areas, such as physician prescribing.”

Fighting the Opioid Fight
For over 43 years, we have been helping families find the courage to recover from substance use disorders, including painkiller addiction and prescription medication abuse. Seabrook’s vision is to make recovery possible for every family in need. To learn about our drug rehab treatment programs, call today: 800-761-7575.