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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2012 Jan-Mar;44(1):68-71.

Prescribing practices and the prescription drug epidemic: physician intervention strategies.

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  • 1David E. Smith, MD & Associates, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA.


Prescription drug abuse is increasingly recognized as the United States' fastest growing drug problem, rising dramatically since the early 2000s, and particularly affecting adolescents and young adults. Federal officials are urging legislation to educate physicians about the use and effects of potent narcotics, which are increasingly being prescribed for chronic pain. ASAM developed strategies in the 1980s to identify the small minority of misprescribers and focused educational and retraining efforts on these individuals. As health reform and more prevalent pain management put more primary care physicians in a gatekeeper role to manage the medical care of addicts, these clinicians must become aware of the abuse potential of the powerful narcotics they prescribe. Increased reference to state-maintained controlled medication databases can also reduce misprescribing.

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