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Over-prescription of opioid painkillers is being driven by large number of general practitioners, find researchers
In a new study, researchers have discovered that opioid painkillers’ overprescription is being driven by a huge number of general practitioners, not by specialists or ‘pill mill’ operations as suggested by many.
Conducted at Stanford University, the study has contradicted theories and efforts spanning many years to close down the corrupt clinics that have been giving the drugs out to everybody asking out for them.
Researchers said that as per an earlier 2011 study, 1% of prescribers have accounted for nearly one-third of opioid prescriptions nationwide and the top 10% made up 80% of prescriptions.
Since then efforts have been made to decrease the number of prescriptions, like a law passed in Florida in 2010, the place where doctors, operating pharmacies out of their offices, prescribed millions of pills, and earned the nickname ‘pill mills’.
In October a study was released, which discovered that the law produced a 1.4% reduction in opioid prescriptions from 2010 to 2012. The study showed that shutting them down was most effective.
According to Stanford researchers, their study has showcased that law enforcement efforts to catch the biggest prescribers were not sufficient enough to cut overprescription, no matter they considered legitimate treatment goals or not.
In a press release, Dr. Jonathan Chen, a professor at Stanford, said, “Being a physician myself, I am acutely aware of the emotional angst that can occur when deciding whether to prescribe opioids to a patient who may have simultaneously developed a chronic-pain and substance-dependence problem”.
Dr. Jonathan added that the public health epidemic of overusing opioid is probably not surprising if the tenfold rise in volume over the last 20 years is taken into consideration.